Kamran Akmal issues SHOCKING statement on Babar Azam

The former wicketkeeper-batter took a controversial aim for the Pakistan captain over selection matters ahead of the New Zealand series. 
Babar Azam

Kamran Akmal took a controversial aim at Babar Azam, alleging that the continuous absence of his younger brother Umar Akmal from the national scene is down to the Pakistan skipper's personal "agenda" against him. The former wicketkeeper-batter claimed that Babar has a vendetta against the younger Akmal, who remains a contentious figure within the set-up. 

Umar, forever a controversial child in Pakistan cricket, perhaps reached the height of his off-field shenanigans when he was banned by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for 12 months in February 2020 for failing to report corrupt approaches during the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Hailed as one of the finest young talents produced by Pakistan in modern-day cricket, the 32-year-old played last of his 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20Is for the country back in October 2019. 

Inconsistent performances and accusations of indiscipline may have dented the cricketer's wings, but his persistent absence from the national side is a cause of great pain and frustration to his family, with elder Kamran, now a retired cricketer, saying it's mainly due to Babar's attitude against his brother. 

Kamran accuses Babar Azam for Umar's Pakistan absence 

While Kamran didn't directly point a finger at Babar Azam, he said powerful voices within the national team are not letting Umar make a national comeback when he can still offer the country good 4-5 years. Offering a stern defence of his brother, he added that such agendas should be put to rest and not be allowed to interfere in the team matters. 

"Keep your personal agendas aside, drafting a team should be about putting Pakistan first, not personal agendas or preferences," he was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan. 

"It's concerning to see players being shifted between formats based on connections rather than performance. We can't afford to treat team selection like a game of musical chairs."

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Taking note of the selections for the home T20Is and ODIs against New Zealand coming up, Kamran said it seems there is favouritism in play in selection matters, with the captain presumably deciding which players he wants to play with. 

The 41-year-old further said this reflects in Pakistan's recent tendency to pick players that have performed well in T20Is for the ODI side and vice versa, leading to a mix-up that helps no one. 

"The team selection should not be based on transitioning players between formats solely on the basis of their connections in the board. It's not right to include someone in the ODI lineup just because they didn't perform well in T20I. This seems like a game of musical chairs, and it's not fair to the team or the players," Kamran added.