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Former PCB chairman claims Umar Akmal refused epilepsy treatment

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

Najam Sethi, who served as the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman between 2013 and 2018, has claimed that recently banned batsman Umar Akmal suffers from epilepsy, but refused treatment for it.

Akmal was slapped with a three-year ban by the PCB for failure to report corrupt approaches. It was the latest in a long line of indiscretions to have derailed a once promising career.

Now, Sethi has claimed that he tried to get Akmal treated, but said the batsman refused it, leaving Sethi in a helpless situation, as he didn’t wish to interfere too much in the matter of Akmal’s selection. “We had medical reports that confirmed he suffered from epilepsy fits and we called him back from the West Indies,” Sethi was quoted as saying on TV channel 24 News by Geo.tv.

“When I met him, I told him it was a serious problem and he needed to take a break and get proper treatment. But he was not willing to accept this. He was mentally not there.

“Anyway, I stopped him from playing for two months, but later on we sent the medical reports to the selectors and left it to them because I didn’t like to interfere in their work.”

Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, which causes brain activity to become abnormal, causing seizures and unusual behaviours.

Sethi went on to say that Akmal is a selfish cricketer who always puts himself above the team, and expressed concerns that the three-year ban could force an early end to his career.

“He refuses to accept discipline and he is an individualistic player prone to play with instinct,” Sethi said. “He plays for himself not for his team. He is outside all discipline.

“I am afraid his career is threatened and it appears to me to be the end of the line for him. Umar has always been someone outside all discipline and this three-year ban was going to happen.”

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