Pakistan Cricket Rawal Pindi Express Story – Shoaib Akhtar
Ball temper, rude attitude, doping charges, fights with former coach Bob Woolmer. This man has been nominated by all of them.
His career spans 9 years. He represented Pakistan Cricket in 133 One Day Internationals (ODI) and has 208 Wickets to his credit. He participated in 43 Test Matches and took out 169 Players. Looking at the facts and figures, it’s not a huge amount of cricket that he played, but he was in the news more than he was on the cricket ground.
Here’s the story of one of our much-hyped quick launchers in review.
Shoaib Akhtar’s early days back in 1996, when he was about to join the Pakistan Cricket team, he was kicked out of the team due to his bad attitude. He got 1 year delay in his ODI debut because of this.
He was the leading wicket-taker and star of the series at the 1999 World Cup. Earlier this year, playing against India, he produced those two magic balls that made him famous around the world. He was signed by Nottinghamshire to play in the county league the same year.
His bowling action was reported and later approved by ICC. Shortly afterwards he suffered a rib injury to avoid the Nottinghamshire county season. A shoulder injury followed by a knee and ankle injury saw him play no more in 2000.
He came back with a great performance against the New Zealand cricket team where he took 5 wickets in the year 2001. But in the next game to disappoint all his fans around the world he picked up a hamstring injury after 9 throwing only 9 balls. He was again reported for his bowling action, but was cleared as the University of Cricket report said that his action is caused by special physical characteristics.
In early 2002 he was beaten by a mob in Dhaka, India. He was forced to miss the tour due to injury. He returned to the team against New Zealand while paying at home. He bowled the first 100 mph ball in cricket history. Against Zimbabwe, he returned the favor to the crowd by throwing a bottle at them and earned a 1 ODI ban. A knee injury follows him to miss the series against South Africa.
In 2003, Tauqir Zia (PCB Chairman) kicked him out of the Pakistani cricket team along with other players for his poor performance in the 2003 World Cup. Later this year, when he was called up for the series against Sri Lanka, he got a ban for tempering the ball. He faced a lawsuit from a Pakistani citizen for partying on a night of religious importance. He was found water skiing while he was missing a series of test matches in New Zealand due to a calf groin injury.
He encountered a back injury in 2004 while playing against the Indian Cricket team in the last test match. He subsequently hits 28 of 14 balls in a single game. Inzamam-ul-Haq was not very impressed with this performance that he gave with the injury. A shoulder injury caught Shoaib Akhtar in Perth as he was destroying the Australian cricket team with his furious bowling alone. Even this year he was denounced for disciplinary offenses.
A Bollywood film director Mahesh Bhatt offered him a role in his movie in the year 2005 as he was dealing with a hamstring injury and unable to join the cricket team for the VB Series. His relations with former Pakistani cricket manager Bob Woolmer and Inzama-ul-Haq corroded. Once again he reassures the critics by his tremendous performance against the England Cricket team with 17 wickets in the series despite getting injured in the last Test in Lahore.
Greg Chappell raised his questions against Shoaib Akhtar’s bowling action in 2006, ICC refrained from commenting on this. An ankle injury followed by a severe knee condition threatened the end of his career. He was going to have surgery.
In 2006, the doping charges against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif shocked the cricketing world as they tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolone just before the Champions Trophy. Later, the 2-year ban was approved by a neutral court.
Cricket fans around the world were happy to see him included in the 30-man squad for the 2007 World Cup. He was injured during the South African Series and was only able to play one Test match. A TV channel showed an argument with Bob Woolmer and the Pakistan Cricket Board fined Shoaib Akhtar. His name was dropped from Pakistan’s 2007 World Cup squad at the last minute due to injury. Some say it was a precaution for him not to test positive for doping since the nandrolone substance was still present in his body.
Shaoib Akhtar named in Asia XI Vs Africa XI was again a happy moment for his fans, Pakistan Cricket board dropped him after he declared himself unavailable for the Abu Dhabi Series. His name was included in the squad against Scotland and the 2007 Twenty Twenty World Cup and he continued to practice at the cricket camp. He then leaves training camp without reporting and was nominated by smashing a mirror in the locker room in anger. A committee formed by the Pakistan Cricket Board puts him on a six-week probation and keeps the fine for himself. Pakistani cricket teams came to South Africa to participate in the Twenty Twenty World Cup pre-matches. Shoaib Akhtar again performs well and shows his fitness in the first 4 matches Pakistan played. Breaking news from a Cricket Ground locker room hits the media as the arrogant Shoaib Akhtar hits his teammate Muhammad Asif with a cricket bat during an argument. He has been sent back to Pakistan and PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf has imposed an indefinite ban for playing cricket.