‘Hard worker’ Ahmed Shehzad requests critics to not compare him with Umar Akmal

Cricketer Ahmed Shehzad on Sunday opened up for the first time about his recent failures with the Pakistan team, and pleaded to his critics to not beat him with the same stick they use for fellow batsman Umar Akmal.

Shehzad, after a period on the sidelines due to a drug ban, was given a chance against Sri Lanka last month. But the top-order batsman failed to avail the opportunity in back-to-back matches, scoring a total of 17 matches in his twin outings.

The 27-year-old, while addressing a press conference in Lahore ahead of the seventh round fixtures of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, touched upon a few other subjects.

He refused to make any excuses of his failures for Pakistan, saying that he does not have anyone to blame but himself.

“I got two chances. I think one should be prepared enough to avail whatever chances that come their way, be it one or two,” he said, vowing to do better next time.

“I believe that the amount of hard work I put in in the last two years, I had never done it in my entire life. It was unfortunate. I tried but it did not happen. Fair enough. Maybe God wants some more hard work from me.

“I cannot give excuses. I cannot say that I only got two matches and someone else got five of 10. I will try to do more next time whenever I get the chance.”

He did say that the “fear of failure” and insecurity of being axed from the side can sometimes keep players from delivering at the highest level.

‘Don’t lump me with Umar Akmal’

Shehzad reiterated that his failures came despite the physical, mental and technical hard work he put in over the last few years, as he urged his critics to not lump him with Akmal.

“He has his own life, I have mine. I request that we be not get lumped together as a duo. I should be judged on what I do and he on his own conduct. It would also be unfair on him if I were to make a mistake but the blame was to fall on him,” he said.

Shehzad is easily one of the most maligned cricketers in the land but he is unable to understand what he has done to earn such a reputation.

“Sometimes [the critics] get too harsh,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like I have come from elsewhere or I am not from this country. I have no idea why people are so annoyed with me. I have always tried to improve myself.”

While his critics may already think that he has played his last for Pakistan, the man himself says he still has a comeback left in him.

“Some players get a match or two and then are never seen again, but I have already had six to seven comebacks. I will work even harder and come back better than ever,” he vowed.

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