Kamran Akmal has refused to play in the PSL 2022 for Peshawar Zalmi, as he was was brought down from Diamond to Gold in the auction draft and was eventually picked in the silver category by the franchise on Sunday. Akmal said that it was embarrassing to get this sort of treatment by the franchise.
Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2022 is scheduled to be played from January 27 and the draft for the franchise to get their picks was held on Sunday, December 12. Each franchise had a chance to retain up to eight players. Peshawar Zalmi did not chose to retain former Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. They retained Wahab Riaz, while Shoaib Malik was acquired from the diamond category. Mohammad Harris was also added to the squad.
Akmal was initially demoted from the Diamond to Gold category by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) before the auction. He was not even picked in the Gold category and eventually, Peshawar Zalmi roped him in as the last pick from silver category.
Reflecting on his demotion in the auction, Akmal has said that getting this sort of treatment after scoring so many runs for the franchise was embarrassing.
"If it has to end like this, so be it, but I am not going to play with such humiliation," he said. "This is an embarrassment. You don't treat a player like this. With all the runs I have scored in the league, I deserve better,” Akmal told ESPNcricinfo.
"I agree that rejigging the categories wasn't the franchises' prerogative, it was Ramiz Raja [PCB chairman] who reworked the categories. But being picked in Silver was a further demotion."
Peshawar Zalmi coach Mohammad Akram has revealed that Akmal has been promised that he would get the same money a Gold player gets with an additional benefit year.
"Kamran has always been the closest to our heart. He has not only served Pakistan well, but has entertained PSL fans for last six years," Akram said. "I had spoken with him earlier, and informed him that if we pick him in the Silver category, we will still pay him same money as he would earn in the Gold category by making him the team's mentor.
"We have also announced a benefit year for him and a certain amount from our earning will go back into that. With age [Akmal is 39], things change and we have to be realistic. But on paper, he is still with the team and that is why we picked him.”
Akram added that the franchise will try to persuade the cricketer to play for them.
"He has been our key player and I hope I will be able to persuade him to play the season. But, at the end of the day, it's their [the players'] choice, they are professionals and can play wherever they want,” he explained.
Akmal has been playing for the franchise since the inaugural edition and has scored 1,820 runs from 69 matches, being the second highest run-scorer in the tournament history after Babar Azam. He is the only player to score three hundreds in the tournament and has 60 dismissals to his name as a wicketkeeper.
Akmal said on his YouTube channel that the franchise should release him, as he doesn’t deserve to play in this category and it is better suited for youngsters.
“Please release me because I don’t deserve to play in this category. The lower categories are better suited for youngsters. I don’t want their (Peshawar Zalmi) sympathy just because I have played for them in the past six seasons,” he said on his Youtube channel.
The 39-year-old also tweeted on social media that he doesn’t deserve to play in this category and thanked the franchise for his journey in the tournament so far.
Last 6 seasons it was a great journey..Thank you for supporting me through thick and thin M.Akram bhai @JAfridi10 @darensammy88 @WahabViki ..I think i don’t deserve to play in this category…Thank you once again..@PeshawarZalmi Best of luck..Thank You all the fans for supporting— Kamran Akmal (@KamiAkmal23) December 12, 2021