KARACHI: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has issued a warning to Umar Akmal, saying the senior middle-order batsman must improve his fitness before thinking about making a comeback to the national side.
“If someone fails seven fitness tests, we cannot do much about it,” the Express Tribune quoted Arthur as saying while talking to reporters in Lahore. “Ball is in Umar’s court. He knows what he needs to do to come back in the national team.”
The Pakistan head coach further insisted that fitness standards will not be compromised for any player and the team will move ahead without unfit ones.
“Everyone should know we’ve got enough to move forward without any player who is not meeting our standards,” said the 49-year-old.
Akmal, who has been dropped from the country's cricket board central contract list, has vowed to work hard on his fitness to make his way back to the national squad.
The 27-year-old, who last appeared in an ODI against Australia in January, was initially part of the winning Champions Trophy squad, but was recalled from England after his failure to clear two fitness tests during the eight-team tournament's preparation camp in Birmingham.
Even in April before the West Indies tour, the middle-order batsman was not picked after failing a fitness test. His fitness and attitude have been a reason of concern for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), selectors and team management.
Akmal is presently in England training and undergoing a rehabilitation course to not only improve his fitness but also to overcome a knee problem.
Akmal has played a total of 16 Tests scoring 1003 runs and 116 ODIs amassing 3044 runs for Pakistan so far. He also appeared in 82 T20Is and notched up 1,690 runs.