Umar Akmal to play league cricket in California; leaves Pakistan

Tainted Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal, who had recently completed his ban for breaching Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) anti-corruption code, has left the country and is reportedly set to feature in league cricket in the United States.

As per a report in Espncricinfo, the 31-year-old has signed a short-term contract with Northern Cricket California Association and is open to exploring a long-term future which would sever his ties with Pakistan cricket.

Before flying to the US, Akmal featured in the in the PCB Cricket Associations T20 tournament where he had scored 0, 14, 7, 16 and 29 for the Central Punjab Second XI.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Quaid-E-Azam Trophy is scheduled to start on October 20 and it was not clear whether Akmal will arrive back for the country’s premier domestic competition.

The report suggested that Akmal’s comeback after serving the ban wasn’t well-received in the domestic circuit and he was not selected for the ongoing National T20 Cup following which he decided to fly to the US.

“There are a few others who were banned with bigger charges but given unprecedented support to make a comeback. The system was never fair to Umar. There were blatant compromises made to select a few players with poor fitness, but the benchmark was made tighter for him to make sure keep him out,” said a family member.

Akmal was earlier, handed a 18-month ban for breaching PCB’s anti-corruption however, the suspension was later reduced to six month following the verdict of Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

He was suspended hours before his PSL frachise Quetta Gladiators was to take on Islamabad in the opening match of the 2020 edition of the T20 tournament.

Couple of days back, Akmal had kept the netizens guessing with a surprise trip to the US.

According to Akmal, he had flown to the United States for some ‘Personal Meetings’. Taking to the micro-blogging site, he wrote that he is travelling to the US for some ‘personal meetings’ and then went on to add that if all goes well, he might have to stay there for some time.

The middle-order batsman then urged all his supporters to pray for him as they have always done. Akmal had also posted a screenshot of his flight tickets as well.

Earlier in 2021, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) had imposed a fine of Rs 4.25 million on Akmal beside banning him from playing cricket for a year. Later, the cricketer had paid the fine and was eligible to restart his rehabilitation with PCB’s Anti-Corruption body.

Notably, Akmal had made his One Day International (ODI) debut on August 1, 2009 against Sri Lanka, his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut on 12 August 2009 against the same opponent.

In 121 ODIs he played for Pakistan, Akmal amassed 3,194 runs at an average of 34.34, which included two tons and twenty half-centuries. In 84 T20Is, he accumulated 1690 runs, averaging 26. He slammed eight half-centuries in the shortest format of the game and his top score was 94.

He had made his Test debut against New Zealand on November 23, 2009. In his 16-match Test career, Akmal had managed 1003 runs, averaging 35.82.

News Desk

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