Shoaib Akhtar announced his retirement in the course of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. However, he continues to bowl bouncers, this time via his controversial book, appropriately named “Controversially Yours”.
In his controversial book released, the Pakistan fast bowler, also known as Rawalpindi Express, touched upon several issues with regard to his own cricket as they affected world cricket and thereby, has generated plenty of controversy already.
Amongst the many things that are relevant, Akhtar admitted as much to ball tampering and stated that everyone indulges in ball tampering and that he is no different. In many ways, he is echoing the words used by Shahid Afridi when he was caught ball tampering, which can only bring further shame to Pakistan cricket. Ball tampering has been a serious issue with the sport and Shoaib Akhtar’s admisison is not likely to endear him furthermore since Akhtar has called for legalizing ball tampering.
Akhtar also cast aspersion on Indian cricketing giants, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, saying that there not genuine match winners and that they even shied away from his faster ball on the flat pitches of Pakistan.
He also said that Wasim Akram threatened to create mutiny in the team if Shoaib Akhtar was included in the team. He further alleged that Shoaib Mallik was only made the Pakistan captain because of his proximity to the then Pakistan Cricket Board chief, Naseem Ashraf. Akhtar alleges that Akram tried to destroy his cricket career.
Akhtar also mentioned his brief stint with the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders co owned by Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan. Akhtar claims that Shah Rukh Khan and Lalit Modi, the then IPL chairman and commissioner, duped him of his fair price in the IPL and that he was not given the money promised to him.
Akhtar has led a rather controversial life and even more controversial cricket career. Controversy is certainly not new for Pakistan cricket although some of the so called revelations in the book may not necessarily defame anyone more than Shoaib himself and Pakistan cricket in particular. Some of the issues revolving around Pakistan cricket have been nothing short of drama and in that light, there were always going to be varying versions of the truth with matters generally remaining murky, both above and below the surface.
Akhtar’s book is bound to sell hot off the shelves not particularly because every page may necessarily contain the truth because it is from Akhtar’s perspective but because of the kind of controversies he has been a part over the years, most of which would have undoubtedly been captured from his view point. Whether it can damage Pakistan cricket’s already sullied reputation or Akhtar’s revelations, like his career, are past their time can only be judged by the rest of the contents.
Akhtar though has lived once more, stirring cricket matters on and off the field. Undoubtedly he will have already rubbed a few people the wrong way as he claims others have against him and it seems unlikely judging by the contents, that some of those relationships are goign to change anytime soon.