Umar Akmal’s medical report continues to confuse PCB

Umar Akmal reportedly suffered a seizure attack during a flight from Trinidad to Antigua © AFP

Karachi: Aug 28, 2013

Pakistan‘s wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal arrived in Karachi accompanied by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) doctor to have another check up with a leading neurologist, even as mystery continued regarding the intensity of his illness that forced him out of the Twenty20 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the tour to Zimbabwe.

“Umar has got an appointment with the neurologist on Wednesday and is accompanied by Dr Sohail Saleem,” a source in the board said.

“We are hopeful that once this check up is completed, a clear picture will emerge about Umar’s medical condition as he has already undergone MRI scans and was examined by a Lahore based neurologist,” the source added.

The youngest of the Akmal brothers was called back by the PCB from the West Indies after reports emerged that he had fallen unconscious on a flight from Trinidad to Antigua due to a seizure attack, which is normally associated with epilepsy.

The incident also led the board pulling him out of the T20 and One-Day International (ODI) series in Zimbabwe. However, Umar on returning home had told reporters he was perfectly fine and was ready to join the team in Zimbabwe, adding to the confusion about his medical condition.

“The truth is that even the board medical panel got a bit confused when they saw the medical reports about Umar which were taken in the West Indies. The reports indicated he was facing an epilepsy condition in advanced stage but tests and consultations in Pakistan point otherwise,” the source said.

“Indications are that Umar might be facing a mild seizure condition but this has to be reconfirmed. That’s the reason he is in Karachi,” he added.

The source also confirmed that Najam Sethi, the caretaker chairman of the PCB, had met with Umar in Lahore last week for half an hour and assured him he would be well looked after.

“But Sethi also advised Akmal to refrain from giving unnecessary statements in the media which might appear as if the board and player were on different wavelengths,” the source said.

“The board itself is keen on getting a clearer picture about Umar as Pakistan has two very important home series coming up against South Africa and Sri Lanka in the UAE.”

Meanwhile, former South African batsman Jonty Rhodes revealed that he himself was a patient of epilepsy. Rhodes told Dawn newspaper that Umar would have to be patient and follow the doctor’s advice to overcome his illness.

“I would like to tell Umar that this disease is curable if proper dosage of medicine is maintained. He must look after himself at this stage to prolong his career,” Rhodes told the newspaper.