Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's chief selector and interim coach, has said that Umar Akmal needs to "stop being selfish" and learn how to convert starts into substantial innings in Test cricket. Akmal, a middle-order batsman, was dropped for the Test series against Sri Lanka in the UAE and advised to improve his game by playing domestic cricket.
"There is no doubt over his [Akmal's] potential or talent. But he has not done enough to remain in the team," Mohsin said. "Basically we have given him a message. 'Go and play domestic cricket and learn to play big innings. Learn to turn your thirties and forties into hundreds for the team. Stop being selfish.'"
Akmal began the 2011-12 domestic season by scoring 95, 20 and 165 for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in their first two Quaid-e-Azam trophy matches. On the international circuit, however, he had not scored a Test century since his hugely impressive debut in 2009.
After poor performances in 2010, when he averaged 24.33, Akmal was left out of the XI for the two Tests in New Zealand. He returned to the side for the Tests in the West Indies, but was dropped from the Test squad against Sri Lanka after scoring only one half-century in 2011, and struggling to play long innings in ODIs as well.
"To tell you the truth, I was chief selector when we dropped Umar for the Test series [against Sri Lanka], but even if I had been the coach I would have still dropped him," Mohsin said. "He would not have found a place in my team."
"It is not my team or the PCB's team. It is Pakistan's team and those who are selected must justify themselves no matter how good they are."
Mohsin was appointed Pakistan's interim coach to temporarily fill the vacancy created by Waqar Younis' resignation after the tour of Zimbabwe. The PCB is in the process of finding a new coach for the national team. Mohsin has also served as chief selector since March 2010.
"My aim has always been, like the Australians, to have equally capable players competing for one position in the national team and I think the selectors have succeeded in doing that," he said. "I always wanted to coach the Pakistan team and for me it is a big challenge to also succeed as coach."