Umar Akmal needs psychiatric treatment: Najam Sethi

Former PCB chairman opens up on banned middle-order batsman’s troubled past

Umar Akmal needs psychiatric treatment: Najam Sethi PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi believes that banned middle-order batsman Umar Akmal needs psychiatric treatment, in order to become more disciplined.

The batsman burst onto the scene with a century in his first Test in 2009, but his career has been marred by disciplinary problems, resulting in various bans and fines.

While speaking on a local news channel, Sethi opened up on the troubled past of Akmal after the latter was banned for three years over failure to report match-fixing approaches. 

“We had warned Umar Akmal about this and even banned him, earlier, which is why I think the three-year ban is fair. He always played for himself and not the team,” said Sethi. “Umar is not disciplined despite being very talented. If he sits down with a psychiatrist and takes medical treatment, he might become more discipline-oriented.”   

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In 2013, Akmal suffered an epileptic fit during a flight to Jamaica and spent a night in a hospital before being rushed home. He was representing Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League, when the incident happened.

“As soon as I joined PCB, the first big issue I faced was regarding Umar Akmal. He suffered an epileptic fit during tour of West Indies. When he returned home, I asked him to take a break from cricket and get medical treatment but he refused that and insisted on playing,” the ex-PCB chief said.

“Umar had, both, psychological problem and medical problem. He was asked numerous times to mend his ways but he did not listen and consequently this resulted in a controversy after every two or three months,” he added.

Umar last represented Pakistan in two Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka in Lahore last year, falling to first ball ducks on both occasions.

He has so far played 16 Tests, 121 one-day games and 84 Twenty20s for Pakistan.