LAHORE – The Pakistan Cricket Board will carry out a proper inquiry into Umar Akmal’s fitness test fiasco after the batsman was sent back home days ahead of the Champions Trophy beginning in England next month.
The middle order batsman was ordered to return home from England by the team management with the approval of the board after he failed to clear two fitness tests in Birmingham where the Pakistan squad has set up its conditioning camp for the Champions Trophy.
The national selectors have already sent batsman Haris Sohail to replace Umar in the Champions Trophy squad which plays its first match on June 4 against India at Birmingham.
PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan, admitted that the whole affair had caused embarrassment to the board.
“We will be holding a full inquiry into the affair and to confirm what happened. We want to know how Umar was cleared to be sent to England after he had failed two fitness tests,” he said.
“It’s a matter of concern for us. We will investigate this matter to fix responsibility. We have to see if Umar really got unfit after reaching England or his test taken in Pakistan had flaws,” Khan said.
Khan insisted that the board after consultation with the head coach and selectors decided there would be zero tolerance on having unfit players in the side.
But insiders in the board say that some officials in the PCB and the chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, were not happy with the way head coach Mickey Arthur handled the whole affair.
They are also unhappy with reports from England that the team management didn’t treat Umar properly in Birmingham after the fitness tests and he was made to sit on a bench and not take part in any practice and told to return home.
There is a strong feeling that even if Umar was not 100 percent fit and with 10 days remaining before the first match instead of sending him back the team support staff which includes a trainer and physio should have worked on his fitness to prepare him for the tournament, one source said.
The PCB chief made his feelings clear about Umar. “What can I say? Sometimes he fails fitness tests, sometimes he lands at dance parties. He has made life difficult for himself,” he said.
Umar had also been dropped for the tour to the West Indies two months back after failing fitness tests.