“Correct in his assessment” – Kamran Akmal on Michael Vaughan choosing IPL playoffs over T20I series against Pakistan to prepare for T20 World Cup

England & Pakistan Net Sessions
Jos Buttler and his two England teammates skipped IPL playoffs for T20I series vs Pakistan.

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal recently backed ex-England captain Michael Vaughan for his comments regarding England's priority between the IPL 2024 playoffs and the ongoing T20 series against Pakistan. Akmal believes that Vaughan made the right assessment that the England Cricket Board (ECB) should've allowed captain Jos Buttler, Will Jacks and Phil Salt to play the IPL’s knockouts instead of T20Is against the Men in Green to better prepare for the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Akmal reckons that Pakistan’s level has gone south over the last few years. He pointed out that Babar Azam and Co. recently lost to Ireland.

The loss came a month after they suffered a T20 series loss to New Zealand under Shaheen Afridi’s captaincy. The Men in Green had lost to Zimbabwe in the 2022 T20 World Cup but made it to the final, where they lost to eventual champions England.

Akmal recently said on his YouTube channel:

"Over the past few days, I have wondered why a former England captain is commenting and taking Pakistan cricket non-seriously. It has been a painful thought, but I think he was correct in his assessment.
“Everybody knows the level of Pakistan cricket. We are losing against smaller teams like Ireland and in that sense, Vaughan said that it is not a tough series. So, the fault is ours. Had it been any other team like New Zealand, South Africa, and India, then Vaughan would not have said it," Akmal added.

He continued:

“We need to understand that in IPL, the best bowlers and batters are participating with crowds of 40 to 50,000. So it is tough cricket and quality cricket.”

What did Michael Vaughan say?

Michael Vaughan recently told Club Prairie ahead of IPL 2024 final:

“England missed the trick by sending all their players home. You know, I think Will Jacks, Phil Salt, Jos Buttler, in particular, playing in the IPL, in the eliminations, pressure, crowd, expectations, I would argue that playing here is better preparation than playing a T20 game against Pakistan.
"I’m all for international cricket but now and again, this tournament, in particular, is so exposed to pressure.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator added:

“And these players, under a huge amount of from fans, owners, [and] social media, it’s massive. I just felt, particularly those two and Buttler, probably not as much, but I still think he could have stayed here.
"But Will Jacks and Phil Salt, I think they would have been better prepared staying here, playing the IPL, than playing back to the Headingley to play a game."

“How do we respond to Vaughan’s critique?” – Kamran Akmal wants Pakistan to revamp itself

Kamran Akmal further suggested Pakistan cricket revamp and give a befitting reply to Michael Vaughan by winning the T20I series. While taking a dig at Mohsin Naqvi, he said:

"The state of Pakistan cricket maybe in need of a revamp, but this also presents an opportunity for growth. How do we respond to Vaughan's critique? By showing our mettle in the upcoming T20 series against England. Let's use this as a catalyst to regain our confidence and competitiveness, lest even teams like the USA start to see us as an easy target.
"The Pakistan cricket Chairman is to blame for all of this as he has completely ruffled the system. For now, it remains to be seen if [the] Pakistan team rises to the situation or keeps playing in the same zone as they have done till now,” Akmal added.

England are currently leading the four-match T20I series against Pakistan 1-0. The first and third T20Is were abandoned due to rain. The Kennington Oval in London will host the fourth and final T20I on May 30.

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