x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Butt refuses to blame off-colour keeper Akmal

The captain feels he is a great player and can bounce back from a difficult Test match in which he underperformed with the bat and behind the wicket.

Kamran Akmal had a pair of ducks at the Trent Bridge Test match.
Kamran Akmal had a pair of ducks at the Trent Bridge Test match.

NOTTINGHAM, England // Kamran Akmal can bounce back from a difficult Test match in which he underperformed with the bat and behind the wicket, Salman Butt, the Pakistan captain, said yesterday. "Kamran has to come up and show his character and make a strong comeback," Butt said after England thrashed Pakistan in the first Test. "And we believe he will because he has been a great player."

The troubled Akmal was out without scoring for the second time in the match and has now gone 10 innings without a Test half-century. He missed a routine stumping to dismiss Paul Collingwood when on 48, allowing the batsman to go on to 82 and put on a match-turning stand of 219 runs with Eoin Morgan. He also dropped Andrew Strauss in the first innings and Collingwood in the second. A spectacular catch to remove Kevin Pietersen on Saturday off an inside edge to Umar Gul demonstrated his inconsistency.

Butt defended the 28-year-old Akmal, saying his experience gained from 51 tests was invaluable to the team. "It has just been one game," Butt said. "This happened to him in Australia as well - after that he has done well. The guy has six Test hundreds against the world's best sides and every time he scores runs Pakistan wins or draws the game. "So you can't take the credit away from the man. If we've lost the game and he has made a mistake against a good side in difficult conditions you don't ask a youngster to come in and bear the follies of somebody else."

Meanwhile, former captain Mohammad Yousuf has been summoned out of retirement to join the squad ahead of the second Test, which begins on Friday at Edgbaston in Birmingham. A statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board added that uncapped left-arm spinner Raza Hasan has also been called up, while leg spinner Danish Kaneira has been released from the squad. Yousuf, who turns 36 this month, has played 88 tests and 282 one-day internationals and captained the side in New Zealand and Australia this year.

In March he was banned by the board for an indefinite period after an inquiry into the team's poor performances found players guilty of misconduct and indiscipline. Yousuf announced his retirement at the time, but then relented on that decision. * Reuters