Umar Akmal leaves Pakistan, signs deal with US cricket league

PCB had imposed a ban on Akmal for six months, for breaching its anti-corruption code

Akmal, who last played for Pakistan in October, has featured in 16 Tests, 121 ODIs, and 84 T20s, scoring 1,003, 3,194, and 1,690 runs respectively

Sensational Pakistani batsman Umar Akmal, who recently completed the term of his ban, has gone to the United States to play league cricket in the US. When he made his debut, Akmal was considered the “Tendulkar of Pakistan”, but controversies always shadowed him, forcing him to leave the country.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had imposed a ban on Akmal for six months, for breaching PCB’s anti-corruption code.

According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the 31-year-old has signed a short-term contract with Northern Cricket California Association, and is ‘open to exploring a long-term future’, which will sever his ties with Pakistan cricket.

He scored 0, 14, 7, 16 and 29 for the Central Punjab Second XI in the PCB Cricket Association’s T20 tournament, before deciding to go to California.

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Quaid-E-Azam Trophy is scheduled to start on October 20, and it is not clear if he will come back from to play in the country’s premier domestic competition.

The website claimed that Akmal’s comeback wasn’t well-received in the circuit, and he was not selected for the ongoing National T20 Cup.

“There are a few others who were banned with bigger charges but given unprecedented support to make a comeback. The system was never fair to Umar. There were blatant compromises made to select a few players with poor fitness, but the benchmark was made tighter for him to make sure to keep him out,” said a family member.

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Akmal has been at the centre of controversy many times in his career. The suspension by PCB was reduced later to six months, following the verdict of Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

Akmal was suspended hours before his PSL team Quetta Gladiators was to take on Islamabad, in the opening match of the 2020 edition.

The PCB charged him for two breaches of Article 2.4.4 of its Anti-Corruption Code, in two unrelated incidents in February this year ahead of the PSL.

Akmal is the younger brother of former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, who played 53 Tests, 58 T20s, 157 ODIs, and cousin of current captain Babar Azam.

Akmal, who last played for Pakistan in October, has featured in 16 Tests, 121 ODIs, and 84 T20s, scoring 1,003, 3,194, and 1,690 runs respectively. Akmal had scored a century in his Test debut against New Zealand.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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