"Humbled" Kamran Akmal refuses to play PSL 2022 for Peshawar Zalmi

The wicketkeeper batter was reduced to gold by Diamond and finally picked silver, after a PCB rejig of the player categories

The highest-capped player in PSL history and the tournament's second highest run scorer, Kamran Akmal has refused to play in the next edition of the league after being drafted in the lowest category by his old Peshawar team Zalmi. Akmal called it a "humiliation",  "If it has to end like this, so be it, but I won't play".

The PCB had tweaked the player categories before the draft, and Akmal had been moved from the Diamond category to the Gold category, but was eventually chosen by Zalmi as their final pick from the Silver category. Zalmi head coach Mohammad Akram is expected to face Akmal today but as for the player, his decision will not change.

"If it has to end like this, so be it, but I'm not going to play with such humiliation," he said. "It's a shame. That's not how you treat a player. With all the runs I've shot in the league, I deserve better." “I agree that the reorganization of the categories was not the franchise's prerogative, but Ramiz Raja [PCB chairman] who rewrote the categories. But being elected in silver was another downgrade. "

Following the draft on Sunday night, Akram told media representatives that he had spoken to Akmal and offered him the same compensation that a gold player would expect. "Kamran has always been close to our hearts. Not only has he served Pakistan well, but he has also entertained the PSL fans for the past six years," said Akram. "I had spoken to him earlier and informed him that if we select him in the silver category, we will still pay him the same money as he would make in the gold category by mentoring him to the team do.

"We have also announced a benefit year for him, in which a certain part of our earnings will flow back. With age [Akmal is 39] that changes and we have to be realistic. But on paper he is still on the team." and that's why we chose him.

"He was our key player and I hope I can convince him to play the season. But at the end of the day it is their decision [the players], they are professionals and they can play where they want." 

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The six franchises met in Lahore last night to select their squads for the seventh edition of the PSL, which kicks off in Karachi on January 27th. Each franchise had the chance to keep up to eight players and Zalmi decided not to keep Akmal but instead select him from the draft. Wahab Riaz, the team captain, was taken over while Shoaib Malik was taken over from the Diamond category. The team has also brought on Mohammad Harris as an additional wicketkeeper.

Akmal's PSL record is impressive. He has 1,820 runs from 69 games, the run number is only second behind Babar Azam's 2,070 from 58 games. Akmal has scored his runs with a hit rate of 136.84 and is the only one to have scored three hundred goals; Sharjeel Khan has two. Akmal, a Zalmi player since the competition began in 2016, is also the leading wicket keeper in the PSL with 60 layoffs.