Kamran Akmal now has 31 First Class centuries as a keeper-batsman, which is the second-most behind England's Les Ames. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan wicketkeeper who has been in the sidelines, is best remembered for his comical keeping and for his consistency in dropping catches. Not many remember Kamran's contribution with the bat but so poor has been his keeping that his last Test for Pakistan was way back in 2010. However, during the Quaid-e-Azam First Class Tournament, Kamran achieved a feat which broke Adam Gilchrist, the Australian wicketkeeping legend's record.
During the match between Central Punjab and Northern Punjab at the Iqbal stadium in Faisalabad, Kamran blasted 157 off 170 balls and shared a brilliant 235-run stand with Azhar Ali, who remained not out on 110 at the end of the day's play. In the process, Kamran registered his 31st century in First Class cricket as a keeper, comfortably overhauling Australia keeper Gilchrist's mark of 29 in his career. Kamran sits in second position behind England's Les Ames, who blasted 56 centuries in his playing career for England and Kent.
Along with Akmal, Ames and Gilchrist, the other players who have scored more than 25 centuries as a keeper batsman are Jim Parks, who has hit 27 centuries while Sri Lanka's Kaushal Silva and England's Chris Read have hit 26. MS Dhoni, considered one of the best wicketkeeper-batsman after Gilchrist, has managed just nine first-class centuries.
Kamran has had some horrendous moments behind the stumps in his playing career. During the 2010 Test against Australia in Sydney, Kamran dropped Michael Hussey thrice and missed a stumping as well as run-out as Hussey slammed 134 and helped Australia stage a remarkable turnaround to win the Test and the series. Those dropped catches prompted a match-fixing investigation a couple of years later but he was cleared.
In 2011 during the World Cup encounter against New Zealand in Pallekele, Kamran dropped Ross Taylor twice off Shoaib Akhtar as he smashed 131 and helped New Zealand win for the first time in 28 years in the tournament. However, for his batting, he has played some vital knocks for Pakistan in Tests.
During the 2006 Karachi Test against India, Irfan Pathan took a hat-trick and Pakistan were reduced to 39/5 but the wicketkeeper batsman negotiated a torrid period and managed to score 79. Pakistan won the match by over 300 runs to win the series. In Mohali a year earlier, he batted calmly on the final day with Abdul Razzaq to help Pakistan salvage a draw in Mohali.