Karachi: Umar Akmal made the headlines for the wrong reasons once again after the Pakistan Cricket Board issued a show cause notice to the batsman after he, in a press conference, slammed Pakistan cricket head coach Mickey Arthur on Wednesday.
Akmal alleged that Mickey Arthur had verbally abused him and denied him any right from using the National Cricket Academy (NCA), stating he had to earn it.
While Akmal expressed he was prepared to work on his fitness at the NCA with the Pakistan team, the coaching staff did not pay any heed to him saying they were focusing on contracted players to prepare them for domestic and international assignments.
Umar akmal claims against Mickey Aurther pic.twitter.com/aRmDvFMtFU— Imran Siddique (@SportsJournoo) August 16, 2017
"I had gone to England for rehabilitation of my knee injury. After I recovered, I went to the NCA to start working on my fitness and training. But the coaching staff doesn't want to work with me at all. When I asked why all those international coaches didn't want to work with me, they responded that they wanted to prioritise working with players who had central contracts. I said that I too am an international Pakistan cricketer, and if my fitness is lacking - and I admit that along the way my fitness has been found wanting - they should help me,“ Akmal said during the press conference.
"I then went to talk to the chief selector (Inzamam-ul-Haq), but he referred me to Mickey Arthur. Arthur took me back to Inzi Bhai's room and started scolding me and using bad language in front of Inzi Bhai, which I found demeaning and insulting,“ added Akmal.
"It's not even my fault, and I find it painful that anyone should be allowed to swear at me. I accept my fitness isn't up to the mark, and I am trying to work on it, and I asked to be allowed a trainer to help me. But Mickey said I shouldn't even have come to the NCA and should be playing club cricket instead."
Akmal sparked controversy when he was sent back home from England after failing two fitness tests ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, despite being included in the squad initially. Akmal was also the only Pakistani player to fail the test from the 31 players who also underwent the same procedure.
The Pakistani batsman urged PCB Chairman, Najam Sethi to look into the issue very seriously and take note of Arthur’s behaviour.
"He (Arthur) shouldn't be swearing at me like that, it is like he's abusing all of Pakistan. You look at any cricket match, and you'll see he's swearing at one player or the other. I want to reveal this to the public and to all my fans. I request the chairman (Najam Sethi) to take this issue very seriously. When the head coach is allowed to swear at someone whenever they wish, that is unacceptable. As a Pakistani, I could not stomach it,“ continued the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"I want to tell them that even when I try to do something good, I am prevented from doing so. When I take pictures with my fans, they, too, tell me to work on my fitness, and I feel they are right. But now I want to rectify this, everything is being snatched away from me. Why do academies exist? They exist to correct our mistakes. Now you should tell me what to do; I am a Pakistan player," concluded Akmal.
Akmal’s claims have also stoked the flames further with the Pakistan Cricket Board issuing a show cause notice to the player.
Update: PCB to issue showcause notice to Umar Akmal.— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) August 16, 2017
Meanwhile, Arthur rubbished all the statements made by the Pakistani batsman.
"Umar Akmal wanted to use Grant Flower's services for batting. I told him he must first earn the right to go and play club cricket since he is not under PCB contract anymore." Arthur said during a press conference. "He needs to prove himself before he uses our support staff, “Arthur added.
"I never stopped him from using the Academy; told him not to use services of our support staff until he earns the right. Akmal cannot expect that the support staff, who are for contracted players, are at his beck and call. Nobody, there should be taken for granted," Pakistan’s ICC Champions Trophy coach concluded.