Kamran Akmal: 10 facts you should know about the Pakistan gloveman

Kamran Akmal, born on January 13, 1982, is a wicketkeeper-batsman who has represented Pakistan in 53 Tests, 154 One-Day Internationals and 54 T20Is. Kamran featured in the Pakistan team on a consistent basis in the 2000s until his inconsistent glovework was no longer tolerable.

 

Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 10 facts you should know about Akmal.

 

1. Under-15 Challenge

Kamran was a part of the Pakistan under-15 side for the Lombard under-15 Challenge Cup 1996 in England. He was in the team that lost to India under-15 in the final at Lord’s. That tournament saw youngsters such as Shoaib Malik, Faisal Iqbal, Hazan Raza, Taufiq Umar, Mohammad Kaif and Reetinder Singh Sodhi to name a few.

 

2. Playing for Pakistan under-19 at the age of 15

In 1997, Kamran played for Pakistan under-19 against Australia under-19. Along with Hasan Raza, he was one of the youngest players in the team — only 15 years old. That team also had the likes of Imran Tahir (who went on to play for South Africa), Farhan Adil and Abdur Rauf. Australia were led by Brad Haddin in that series.

 

3. First-Class debut at 15

Kamran made his First-Class debut in 1997 at the age of 15. He was a part of the Lahore side with numerous Pakistan internationals such as Salim and Zahoor Elahi and Abdul Razzak. Tahir was also in that team. Kamran scored a duck on debut.

 

4. Competition with Moin Khan and Rashid Latif

In the 1990s and the early 2000s, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif often competed for the wicketkeeper’s spot in the Pakistan team. In the lead-up to the 2003 World Cup, Latif had more or less sealed his spot. However, Kamran was given an opportunity for the tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa. At the age of 20, he was battling with some of the finest wicketkeepers in Pakistan. In the next two years, he was their undisputed No. 1 with Latif out of favour and Moin dropped.

 

5. The locked passport

Kamran was named in Pakistan’s squad for the Test series against Bangladesh in August 2003. However, he could not arrive in time for the training camp as he was playing club cricket in Ireland. Kamran had handed his passport to the club authorities. When the squad was announced, the club’s manager was on a vacation and had Kamran’s passport locked in his safe. Kamran could only get it after a few days and then return to Pakistan.

 

6. Brothers’ conundrum

Kamran’s brothers Umar and Adnan are also international cricketers. While Umar is one of the most promising young batsmen in the world, Adnan is an experienced and sound wicketkeeper. Such has been their fate that they have had to fill in their brothers shows numerous times. In 2010, Adnan made his debut after Kamran was dropped from the side. Umar too has kept wickets for some time in one-day cricket for want of better options.

 

7. Infamous butterfingers

Over the years, Kamran’s wicketkeeping has been the butt of jokes. With the advent of the social media, the tide has only grown stronger. Time and again, his errors have proven costly for Pakistan. During the New Year’s Day Test in Sydney in 2010, Kamran famously dropped a few catches, which allowed the hosts back in the game. Then during the 2011 World Cup, he dropped Ross Taylor twice in an over, and he went on to score a belligerent hundred.

 

8. Brother’s support

When Kamran dropped those catches in Sydney, there was a clamour for him to be dropped. Sarfraz Ahmed was called for the third Test. Despite the signs, Kamran emphatically told the media that he would play the next game. However, he was dropped. It later emerged that Umar tried to fake an injury and miss the game. He was doing so to support his brother and object the decision to drop him. A few months later the two Akmals were fined by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

 

9. Fastest Test ton by a wicketkeeper

In 2006, Kamran smashed a ton off only 81 balls against Pakistan at Lahore. It was then the fastest ton by a wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket, beating Adam Gilchrist’s record of 84 balls. However, in 2014, compatriot Sarfraz achieved the milestone in 80 balls to usurp the record from Kamran.

 

10. Glittering wicketkeeping stats

Despite the poor glovework, Kamran’s wicketkeeping stats are quite impressive. He has the most dismissals for a wicketkeeper in T20 cricket. In 139 matches, he has 151 dismissals. The next best, MS Dhoni is far behind on 127. In Test cricket, Kamran has quite an impressive dismissals per innings record. With 2.08 dismissals per innings in Test cricket, Kamran has a better rate than any wicketkeeper with 200 Test dismissals, barring Brad Haddin. Legends such as Mark Boucher, Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy and Rodney Marsh are behind him on that mark.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)