Shoaib Akhtar: An embarrassment par excellence

Published: September 28, 2011

Akhtar will at best be remembered as an overgrown child who didn’t play well with others and enjoyed cheating rather than hard work. PHOTO: AFP

Shoaib Akhtar’s autobiography is generating something of a stir, and perhaps it should. Personally, I haven’t read it yet, only the bits and pieces available across my beloved WWW. However, if these excerpts are anything to go by, I must congratulate Mr Akhtar on his glorious achievement.

Bravo world’s fastest bowler!

Akhtar has proven beyond a doubt that the image he created, and then tried to deny throughout his career, was indeed true. And I’m not even talking about his off-the-field antics. After all, like any poor kid who stumbles onto a bundle of money, he was bound to make stupid decisions with it. However, women, partying and schmoozing (or something that rhymes with it) aside, what did he bring to Pakistan cricket?

Akhtar, at his peak, was a devastatingly fast bowler, but pure pace isn’t what makes great bowlers. After all, from Australia’s famed duo of Thompson and Lillee, it was Lillee, the slower of the two, who is remembered as the better bowler.

The West Indian pacemen of the same era provide a more difficult comparison, but again, statistically at least, it was Michael Holding, and later Malcolm Marshall, rather than Andy Roberts, who went down as the greatest pace bowlers of their eras. Even Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, though nowhere near the pace of Akhtar, used their abilities to devastating effect, even though they played much of their careers with a supporting cast comprising injury-prone Ian Bishop, and pretty much nobody else. And then of course, all of these fearsome calypso pacemen were regarded as gentlemen cricketers, not embarrassments to their uniforms.

Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, and Imran Khan couldn’t compete with Akhtar for raw pace, but all rank among the best bowlers their respective nations ever produced, pace or otherwise.

But let’s be fair and make the comparison contemporary. The targets of Akhtar’s abuse include his former captain, Wasim Akram, arguably the best fast bowler Pakistan has ever produced and surely the best left arm paceman the world has ever seen.

Among other things, he accused Akram of ruining his career.

Really?

Not the performance-enhancing drugs, the ball tampering, or pathetic fitness levels that meant that Akhtar could not bowl a quality spell of more than four overs. Apparently that has nothing to do with his decline into oblivion. Instead, he thanklessly blames the man who helped groom him and according to some, even suggested a shorter run-up to prolong his career.

Did Akhtar listen?

No. Instead, he took the easy way out. After all, popping steroids is a lot easier than actually putting blood, sweat and tears into becoming a world class athlete. Akram, in spite of being a diabetic, managed to be an effective wicket-taker well into his 30s. Go back to the late 80s to find that the younger Akram, who had to deal with his own injury problems, was willing to listen to his captain’s advice to shorten his run-up and focus on variety, rather than pure pace. The result was a man described by Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden, and umpteen other batsmen as the best all-round bowler they had ever faced.

As far as complaining about teammates and opponents goes, the fact that Akram and Waqar Younis didn’t get along was public knowledge. Yet, the fact that they were highly effective under each other’s captaincy also shows that a true professional athlete makes no excuses for his performance.

After 12-odd years in which he missed more than half of Pakistan’s games due to injuries, and a number of others due to various disciplinary actions, including the steroid violation where he and Mohammad Asif were inexplicably forgiven (message to children: lie cheat and steal, Pakistan Cricket’s Butchers will approve of it all), Akhtar leaves a legacy of…nothing really. He will at best be remembered as an overgrown child who didn’t play well with others and enjoyed cheating rather than hard work. Or, he will be a footnote to the 90s and 2000s.

If Akhtar had even an iota of grace in him, he would have tried to use his fame, rather than his infamy, to finance his life after cricket. A number of other controversial players managed to retire and build respectable careers, both within and outside the game. Rashid Latif started a cricket academy, Akram and Younis have both spent time in management and on the mike. The only thing they did differently from Akhtar was to ensure that they weren’t universally despised by their teammates and opponents.

Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

A sub-editor on the Islamabad city pages of The Express Tribune, Vaqas holds a Master's degree in IR from Iqra University. Before joining ET, he taught history and was also a member of the editorial staff at Blue Chip Magazine. He tweets as @vasghar (twitter.com/vasghar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Goran

    Yours truly Shoaib – always the show-pony, never the race-horseRecommend

  • Najm Akhtar

    HORRIBLE ARTICLE! Could not have been more wrong. One for this article was factually wrong and it lacked insight on every made. I am tired of authors writing about things they have no idea about. Recommend

  • Hurly

    “Personally, I haven’t read it yet” <<< who allowed you to post your article in the 1st place? “The only thing they did differently from Akhtar was to ensure that they weren’t universally despised by their teammates and opponents” <<< Shoaib is feared by the batsmen!Recommend

  • geeko

    Oh yeah, averaging 25 in Tests with one of the lowest strike-rate puts him at the same place as Denis Lillee, Jeff Thompson or… Kapil Dev (lol!) ? He had better records than Denis Lillee in Tests (‘true deal’, as they say) and was officially faster than Jeff Thompson (who was clocked at 99.7mph v. West Indies in 1975) – he had the best of both worlds, as Miley Cyrus would have said and, yet, peoples are targeting his lack of skills.

    You can say whatever you want about the man, but the bowler was the best sight in world cricket for a bit more than a decade.

    And the fact you mentioned women, partying, … proves that you didn’t read the book, but based your article on Indian media’s own subjective interpretation, because if you did, you wouldn’t talk of Wasim Akram as a saint. ;-)Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    Yet another lopsided article from you. Did you even look at Shoaib’s bowling statistics before writing this? Have you ever compared Shoaib’s bowling statistics with other’s of his playing days? You said Shoaib was a devastating bowler but pure pace is not everything? It was never pace alone with Shoaib Akhtar, there are players like Tait & Johnson who have raw pace but no control. What sets Shoaib, Lee, Steyn apart is their ability to control their line & length without compromising pace. It is a rare art which you clearly can not see. What about all the matches Shoaib Akhtar single-handedly swung into Pakistans favour? Maybe you slept through those, but people who actually know ‘cricket’ realize the importance & excitement Shoaib brought to the game. Also, in my opinion, you should have at least read his book before writing this tirade. This band wagon jumping and dissecting of excerpts is only typical of tabloids seeking attention on a hot issue. You mention how well Wasim & Waqar played under each others captaincy. Is that a fact or is that your assumption? Look up the numbers because you’re in for a surprise. Shane Warne was found guilty of doping, caught in a match fixing scandal, illicit video tapes and much more; Ian Botham admitted to using marijuana. So what was the message the ECB & CA sent out to the children when they allowed such ‘embarrassments’ to return to the game? Lets wait for their books to come out so we can read more of your pedestrian analysis. Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    What is wrong with current generation Pakistanis? From politicians to artistes to anchors to cricketers.

    They make news for all the wrong reasons.

    People like Ramiz Raja, Wasim Akram and Amir Sohail…I have never seen these people lose their dignity and act like morons.

    Perhaps, Pakistan needs to learn something from this generation.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad

    Shoaib is the biggest fool ever lived in this world. Within few weeks and months he will be sued for ball tempering, defaming, slandering, smearing and character assissination. Every penny he will make from this book and whatever he had made previously will be seized and he will be left destitue roaming in Rawalpindi streets.Recommend

  • azim

    Sorry but do not agree with the writer… the writer does not know that dealing with the PCB is another book to be written all together. If the writer has an iota of shame then he should first research… Recommend

  • Adeel

    Lol… Shoaib is definitely not despised… well… not universally anyways… if a few mumbai-residents (replace with Hindu hardliners) hate Shoaib because he has somehow ridiculed their god, sachin, it doesn’t mean the whole of the cricketing world hates him.
    Shoaib is a super star… will always be. Yes… He did not help things for himself… but Wasim was nothing to Shoaib, as what Imran was to Wasim… Akram did not protect Akhtar, which was his job as a captain… and NO wasim didn’t ask akhter to shorten his run up, Imran Khan did…

    this article is horrible… factually completely incorrect.Recommend

  • J. Morris

    How did you include the West Indians in your comparisons? The WI greats not only played in a different era but played in the days of no helmats, sporting pitches and biased umpiring. Shoaib played majority of his cricket on flat tracks against batsmen who wear modern protective equipment and are protected by the one bouncer per over rule. Yet still, Shoaib easily has one of the best bowling record in the modern game. If Shoaib had the opportunity to play in the days when bowlers had freedom to bowl more than one short ball, he’d have even more wickets than he does. He may be trouble but he deserve more credit than you have given him. Shoaib was a once in a generation bowler who was mishandled & misguided by your corrupt board and fans like you who failed to understand his true value.Recommend

  • Bilal Awan

    what?? what?? i’m shocked to see how our people would just say and write/criticize anything despite having no knowlege of facts.
    I want to ask what wrong has he said in his book, which btw isnt out yet and none of us hav gone through it completely?

    People talk about stats, look at the stats.. how many of sachin’s centuries were match winning innings?? how many of runs dravid scored were not only for records but actually made india won??? i couldnt find many of those innings?

    what wrong has he said? Pitches all over the world are made to favor the batsmen, no wonder sachins n dravids (no denying the fact that they know how to bat) are beating records of greats like viv richards and sunil gavaskar or miandad? He told the truth that ball tempering is there, didnt you ppl witnessed that in 2005 ashes??? why couldnt andrew flintoff ever produced such a spell again in his career??? even imran and wasim admitted that they have done ball tempering and we all have seen camera footages of waqar tempering the ball with zip of his trousers?

    Shoaib Akhtar was a match winner.. who can forget his many brilliant spells of genuine fast bowling against southafrica, newzeland(on pakistani pitches), against england (their tour to pakistan after ashes victory of 2005)..

    people atleast give him some respect for speaking the truth and what he felt. perhaps he doesnt need glory like wasim akram (where everything he does is to be star in india media n ppl so that he can comment on indian channels and coach KKR). He surely was a star and we should only see his contributions with the ball, rather than jumping into his personal life, which is and should be of no one’s concern.

    way to go akhtar. !! and please atleast hav a grip on stats, they could easily be found on websites like cricinfo etc before writing such crapRecommend

  • Hashim Malik

    notwithstanding the furore of book’s excerpts I may add that a raw tearaway paceman is not your 400 wicket bowler. Yes, Lillee was better but Thomson evoked fear. Alec Bedser was an English legend but it was fiery Frank ‘Typhon’ Tyson who helped setting up an Ashes win down-under after more than two decades. Similarly, the likes of Roy Gilchrist, Charlie Griffith & Shane Bond didn’t set the statistical world alight but sure left a mark based on hostile pace throughout their careers.Recommend

  • http://www.cricinfo.com as

    blah blah blah!!! Recommend

  • khurram mansoor

    @vaqas ashghar

    if you have not read his book, why would you just look at the excrepts from some one else and form your own opinion

    and I do not know how #express has gone so low on publishing such ill concieved articles.Recommend

  • Asim Kamal

    Shoaib Akhtar didn’t probably even right the book. i have seen him speak a lot of times…In a show called “Rendezvous with Simi Garewal” he tried to throw an Australian accent and even made Simi Garewal to stutter cause he was twisting his mouth so much! :).Recommend

  • Sama

    Oh my god, who the hell let authors like these, who have no passion for cricket and no eye for talent go about writing a blog on tribune!…. and I particulary hated the following lines : “After all, like any poor kid who stumbles onto a bundle of money, he was bound to make stupid decisions with it.”
    What the hell are you trying to imply here?… Recommend

  • Saleem

    What is wrong with ET? this is such a trashy article. ET philosophy seems that criticize everything you see or hear. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    Everyone calm down and have some dip.

    This is a blog, and a dude’s opinion. Go watch Zoolander dance to George Micheal’s “Relax”. Recommend

  • Abbas Ali

    Well the what is written is author’s openion and one should respect that. And what he has written is true if you guys read carefully. Shoib Akhthar had talent there are no two openions on that, but how has he managed it is a shamefull story. He has done every thing but play the game sincerely for his country and team. This lack of sincerity makes him less reliable and less respected.
    Girls, warts, doping, tampering these are the first thoughts that come to one mind when one thinks about shoib Akhthar.. (unfortunately) and his bowling follows next.
    Finally what was the purpose of this book? to make some money in a cheap way?
    These r the precise reasons why people don’t take him serious.

    He could have made us proud atleast by writing a proper book on his experiences but that is not shoib Akhthar for you!Recommend

  • Fah

    If you havent read the book.. what are you talking about? Recommend

  • Columbus

    pichlay janam may aye meera ka bhai thaRecommend

  • geeko

    @J. Morris:
    Exactly, and Viv Richards, in ‘Fire in Babylon’, said that some batsmen were (naturally) scared and gave away their wicket… imagine Shoaib playing in the 70s, throwing +90mph bouncers at will, of course he’ll have more wickets.Recommend

  • Rizvi

    His record is amazing. He was a wicket taking bowler. Recommend

  • Rashid A

    Shoib Akhthar knew he wouldn’t last long. He has to find a retirement plan. He knows his chances in ipl are no more ( the guy can’t bowl even four overs these days) so what can he do? write a book. And write all things that make it controversial, even if they are rubbish.
    Else how can he ever write Akram was responsible for his short comings?
    Regarding Tendulkar .. he doesn’t even qualify to open his mouth after that first over in the south Africa world cup.

    Shame .. but we have such people who run after cheap publicity and money.Recommend

  • Looking for the light

    I like the title of autobiography, “Controversially yours” see how it is creating controversies, way to go….. BDW Shoiab Akhtar Roxxx Recommend

  • Abu Faiz

    The book is a result of Shoib Akhthar’s frustration and jealousy. What else can one say.
    Tendulkar probably has faced more bowlers than any other batsman may ever have, and is going strong even after 22 yrs in cricket….so this rant of Shoib Akhthar is only for cheap publicity. I was a fan of his during his early days but not any more. He is a real embarassment not only for Pakistan but also for World cricket. Recommend

  • Saad S

    Showmanship, indiscipline and lecherous traits aside, in terms of bowling prowess and performance while representing Pakistan here are some facts you should’ve researched before writing this article…..
    178 Wickets at 26 RPW, 46 BPW, 10x5W
    Pakistan with Shoaib: Nov 1997 – Dec 2007 – Won 20, Lost 16, Drawn 10. wpct = 43%
    Pakistan without Shoaib: Nov 1997 – Dec 2007: Won 16, Lost 18, Drawn 14 wpct = 33%
    A 10% increase with Shoaib in the Pak team which is similar to Sri Lanka at their peak with Murli in the team (WPCT 44%).
    There’s no denying Shoaib has been a nuisance and at times a source of embarrasment for the team but no one can question his match winning capabilities which were evident to many a world class batsman watching him as he thundered in to bowl….
    I personally think he could not have chosen a better title for his book given all the tirades and diatribe being sent his way the moment the book hit the stalls.
    Lastly, how can you possibly justify writing about someone with reference to their autobiograpy WITHOUT first reading it!!!????Recommend

  • http://London Ahmed Shah

    Boohoo so he wasn’t a professional. Everyone needs a rockstar.Recommend

  • hadi

    Buddy, the day you are able to throw a bowl at the same speed he did, WITH A FLAT FOOT, you can come and criticize him as much as you want. Till then, ZIP IT. Recommend

  • R.A

    I must congratulate Mr Akhtar for his
    glorious achievement witch he could not
    get in cricket ground
    Recommend

  • Zeeshan

    It is true that Shoaib has had fitness and disciplinary issues, but that does not allow one to downplay his cricketing stats. The fact is that Shoaib evoked fear in batsmen. How could one forget about the Newzealand series in Pakistan, or the English tour to Pakistan and the Multan test. How could one forget Shoaib against South Africa in UAE? Keep your hate aside before writing things. And my Indian friends need to realize that no one is denying Sachin’s merit here. They need to stop thinking that he is a God who cannot be criticized in the least bit. And people who are mentioning the Indo-Pak World Cup 2003 match at centurion should know that every player has good and bad days. If you remember centurion, kindly stop for a moment and try to remember Kolkata 1999 as well, when Sachin got a golden duck against Shoaib, who got both Sachin and Dravid in two consecutive balls. How is that for a spoiler?Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/379/vaqas-asghar/ Vaqas Asghar

    As far as ‘justifying’ my criticism of Akhtar, I’ve played against him at youth level (prior to his international debut), I’ve interviewed him at professional level, and I’ve interacted with him at a social level. My personal consensus is that he is a disgrace to the game, to the flag, and most of all, to his own admittedly enormous talent.
    As far as his statistics go, numbers can be misleading, especially when you measure a player’s performance in a gentleman’s game, and Shoaib (like Botham and much of the Australian team, including Lillee and Thommo) is no gentleman, which hopefully his fans will accept.
    Helmets are overplayed. Yes they protect a player, but by the logic that helmets have made modern batsmen better, every Tom Dick and Harry should be playing perfect hook shots.
    For the “match-winning” performances argument, the misfortune of birth should not factor into a player’s achievements, eg: Andy Flower, possibly the best wicketkeeper batsman ever not name Gilchrist and a man who won fewer matches than any of his contemporaries

    As a final argument, for all of this cheater’s fans, you had best stop complaining about corrupt politicians and military men if you idolise corrupted athletesRecommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    (1) You say stats are misleading in a ‘gentleman’s game’? Cricket is a sport! stats are important and and a standardized measure of players performances. It gives a fair reflection of how players line up against each other. But according to you, we should over look that and dwell into whether or not the players are refined in exorbitantly priced private schools. Perhaps, the average people of Pakistan who can hardly afford two meals a day should apologize to you. So what if they can not afford the luxury of being taught how to sit, eat, talk and behave in an English gentleman-like manner. Pakistan is NOT England and cricket is not just played at Lord’s.

    (2) You say helmets are over rated. That’s almost a joke. If you had really played at the “youth level” (whatever that means) you’d know the importance of a helmet in giving the batsman confidence at the crease. All it takes is that one ball to fly past your neck and after that the tentative front foot becomes a liability for your technique. Also, where did you come up with the idea that the hook shot can be perfected? Seriously, what “youth level” did you play at? The hook shot is always a high risk shot and there’s not a single batsman who plays it regularly & hits a boundary every time. Ponting is probably the best exponent of the pull shot, and even he has been out playing that quite often. A better fact to note would be the increase in the number of runs scored by lower order batsman, mainly the tail, over the past couple of decades since the introduction of helmets. Before that, tail enders were sitting ducks who did not like spending any time at the crease with a bat. Rear guard heroics and test hundreds from bowlers is becoming more common now because they are confident at the crease and as anyone who has played any form of competitive cricket will tell you, confidence is all a batsman needs. The helmet plays a much bigger role than you think.
    (3) I don’t think anybody here has questioned Andy Flower or Gilchrist’s abilities. Both were great in their own regards but to bring them in the debate is to digress. As is your ‘youth’-like final argument that just because people like what a cricketer did on the field, they must be supportive of corrupt politician and military men.

    Your opinion on Shoaib seems more out of personal animosity than anything else, you continue to ignore his on field performances and records despite being reminded by so many readers. The thought of you being wrong hasn’t crossed your mind has it? By your standards, Warne must also one of the worst cricketer to have ever played? I don’t have anything against you, but your opinion & ideas on this subject are outlandish. Recommend

  • Khanzada

    So what if Vaqas Asgher Shoaib Akhtar thinks he is right & everyone else is wrong. Its a common way of thinking amongst most Pakistanis. by the way, please share your Shoaib Akhtar interview with us. Recommend

  • mashal

    Well, first of all its true that a blog allows you to share your personal opinion but if you are discussing the issue in the light of the recently released book and what it says, you must at least go through it before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

    All of us have heard excerpts in the headlines on every channel too!! but as we know the media could be misleading at times. Maybe you could read the book and check out contexts in which each of those things have been mentioned.

    Many don’t read a book. They read reviews to get an idea of what it is about.
    Many don’t see a movie but read a review or a critical analysis to get a feel of its theme etc.

    I see people talking and making huge claims about books they haven’t read or movies they haven’t seen on the tribune blog which should be discouraged so that a certain level of credibility can be attached to anything that gets through. Just an opinion.Recommend

  • Waleed Ibrahim

    The jealousy that people have here is disappointing. I agree Shoaib is not the best player ever to have graced cricket but batsmen feared him and probably he cudve played more thats his own fault because the controversies that surrounded him, but what you are saying here sounds like sour grapes thats all. Recommend

  • Waleed Ibrahim

    Secondly if u want statistics. Sachin and Shoaib have faced each other 17 times and of those 17 times Shoaib has got him out 11 times. So if someone said that Sachin is afraid of Shoaib i would say yes he is. Thirdly i feel its a very good reply to what Sehwag said at one of these awards when he sort of ‘made up’ this story that Sachin hit Shoaib for a six in this test match. Whereas in truth he has never hit Shoaib Akhtar for a six in any test match. Fourthly people say Shoaib Akhtar is looking for ‘cheap publicity’ which maybe true because some of his stories seemed made up but some of it is true as wellRecommend

  • http://www.adnanshahid.com Adnan Shahid

    Well done Shoaib Akhtar
    I am agree with shoaib that Tebdulkar & Dravid are not match winning players. Recommend

  • Pavan

    That’s prolly the worst article written on Shoaib Akhtar. I didnot even bother to read the entire article. The writer must know he shoulnot talk abt Lille, Imran, Roberts, Walshes and Ambroses to be compared with Shoaib.
    If you gotta compare him with the bowlers, Compare him with Lee, Tait, Johnson, Steyn, Mcgrath(Legend) etc.
    Shoaib had line and length. How did he manage to have an average of 24 something in tests if he didnot know how to ball. He maynot go down in the history as a great great bowler to play test cricket. But the time he played he entertained and enthralled one and all you can’t deny this fact.
    Lee’s pace is comparable to Akhtar’s even Tait’s as well. But tait ain’t half as gud as akhtar and lee not even 75% of what akhtar has delivered. He’s a bad-ass agreeed. He’s his share of controversies But as a bowler i don’t doubt his abilities a bit. He’s just a beauty when handed a red/white cricket ball in the hand and is on the field. Enuff saidRecommend

  • Pavan

    @narayana murthy:
    They don’t act like morons coz they’re v. shrewd people and are smart enough not to make a fool outta themselves. But honestly speaking wasim akram was no saint.Recommend

  • Pavan

    @Adeel:
    At first place if you read the book he hasnot ridiculed Sachin. Secondly it’s the India media and not the Hindus in particular. Havenot heard of any RSS-Shiv Sena’s comments on this.Recommend

  • Doctor

    @ Vaqas – you are 100% right. We Pakistanis have become sick. It’s almost like we’re drawn to cheaters, backstabbers, liars, terrorists, and demogagoues.

    Why must we stand up for people like Shoaib and our corrupt cricketers when we have good honest guys? Pakistan is rewarding all the wrong kinds of people and the right kind of people either leave Pakistan or end up getting criticized for all the wrong reasons like you have been. Recommend

  • Farhan

    Mr. Asghar, before siding with what the Indian media is reporting and simply criticizing Shoaib Akhtar, how about you go purchase the book? The title of this article is strong enough to boil the blood of an ordinary Pakistani. The book only has a few lines about Sachin Tendulkar. Not a lot has been written about Wasim Akram either. Whatever Shoaib has written, it’s his own personal opinion. I read in the comment section how you called Akhtar a disgrace to the game, moreover the FLAG! You really need to see what you write. Seriously! Mr. Asghar, he has won countless matches for Pakistan and is the fastest bowler to have ever played the game. Controversies are a part of the game. You for one are trying to gain attention through such a post. When the media of the neighbouring country is against Shoaib, I would have expected you to write a better piece (highly doubt that you’re capable of doing that though) in support of our legend.

    On a side note, Tribune’s quality has been going down for a while now. People like this guy have been writing pointless articles. You guys need to sort this mess out. You’d rather have a few articles which are gems instead of having several utterly rubbish articles published everyday.Recommend

  • Wahab

    Any body talking about batsmen fearing shoib, remember a guy called Ross Taylor??
    He swatted Akhthar for a phenomenal 28 runs in the last over of his career. Rember the first over of 2003 world cup match agains India? Was repped apart by Tendulkar.
    Shoib is a talented cricketer but his cheap tactics are the one that bring embarrasment(Like the book with all rubbish that has been written in it)Recommend

  • RaZi

    @Said Chaudry: well said! I always liked your insight on cricket. plz start writing sports articles again… Recommend

  • Asim Kamal

    To Guys Who are complaining about tribune and this author, you don’t need to read the book to tell History and the facts behind it..The guy(Shoaib Akhtar) is and will be a problem. And the people taking his side are either his relatives or friends!Recommend

  • Asit

    @Farhan:
    Just because the media on the other side is saying some thing should one stop having a openion? The problem with you and a few others that are complaining about the article is you are just outraged that some body is writing some thing that you did not want to hear (Truth is some times bitter my friend).
    You are trying to defend a Shoib just because he has written some rubbish regarding some players that you are jealous of but the whole world adores them. Now this is the truth.
    You are happy that some body is trying to pull down great Players like Tendulkar and Dravid who have been the nemisis of our team when ever we played and trying to find some joy.
    (it is called hiding ones head in the sand)
    One need not like the article and there are ways to criticise but abusing the author is the cheapest way to make a point. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/379/vaqas-asghar/ Vaqas Asghar

    @Said Chaudhry:
    I just want to start by honestly thanking you for keeping (most of) your critique focused on what i wrote rather than personal attacks. BTW youth level means under-16, etc. I was training with the u-19s and got to face him in the nets a few times (he was with the RWP senior team).
    Im not replying at length to the queries because most of your points are legit from the perspective of someone who likes what he brings to the game and i already accepted that he was enormously talented.
    The only difference is that my interpretation of a good player includes both talent and behaviour, as a representative of the nation, as i mentioned in my last comment, I have little respect for most of the Aussi invincibles because they replaced sportsmanship with gamesmanship. Talent alone does not make a role model, and that is what international athletes should be. Incidentally, that is where the last part of the previous post (corrupt politicians) comes in. Shoaib makes for a good highlights reel, but if your kid became a fast bowler, would you like to see him behave they way Shoaib did on and off the field?
    The Andy Flower comment was meant to illustrate that the term matchwinner is unfair when used to differentiate between players’ achievements, especially players from different teams due to the variation in overall quality.

    @Asim Kamal: thanks for answering the many queries about the book.

    To the people who feel im being one-sided: this is not an analysis or a book review, its my opinion of what he brought to the game. I think some of the pro-Akhtar comments actually illustrate my point about him being a bad role model, although a handful of people have shown the desire to actually debate my opinion using counter arguments (while i still disagree with you, i respect your rights to hold your opinions) rather than cuss me out and make personal attacks.
    To the people emailing me with abusive language and what-not, thanks for proving the point
    above
    To everyone else, if you agree with me, thanks for reading. If you disagree, thanks for reading, and maybe in one of my later pieces we can find something we do agree on.Recommend

  • rk

    This is such a RANT ! Ignore pleaseRecommend

  • Farhan

    @Asit
    I did not say that anyone should not have an opinion. What I said was that without reading the book, how can you completely agree with what the media has been saying about the wording of the book? Everyone knows how the media blows everything out of proportion. Using the word ‘outraged’ seems a bit strong to use but I would not say that I’m not outraged, even a bit. I am. Seeing what the media has to say and forming an opinion through that is what I don’t agree with. Read the book, then write whatever you want to – that opinion would matter.
    I’m not sure how you came with the idea that Shoaib is jealous of other players. What he has written is his own opinion, he has said that in a number of his recent interviews. Yes it’s a controversial book but definitely not anything out of jealousy. Also, he is not trying to ‘pull down’ the great players you speak of. He is just not agreeing with a lot of people on the idea that these guys are the best match-winners. In his interviews he has said that they were not match-winners during the matches they played against Shoaib, but they sure are match-winners otherwise.
    Lastly, I never abused the author or anything to make a point. I simply criticized the style of writing.Recommend

  • Waleed Ibrahim

    I agree with this guy Said Chaudhary in your opinion is Shane Warne is a bad role model as well? Wasim and Waqar had alot of stuff going on too when they were actually playing the media didnt play a big part then so we dont know what actually went on. The whole team Wasim vs Waqar, Waqar vs Aamir Sohail, Rashid Latif vs Wasim it was crazyy back then. Shoaib Akhtar has been a target of the media as well i’m sure if the media was as strong in the 2W’s time they wudve been unforgivably been criticised too. I’m sure Wasim and Waqar were bad boys themselves who can forget Akram being alleged in ball tampering and match fixing everyone knows that?Recommend

  • Waleed Ibrahim

    Wasim and Waqar had alot of stuff going on too when they were actually playing the media didnt play a big part then so we dont know what actually went on. The whole team Wasim vs Waqar, Waqar vs Aamir Sohail, Rashid Latif vs Wasim it was crazyy back then. Shoaib Akhtar has been a target of the media as well i’m sure if the media was as strong in the 2W’s time they wudve been unforgivably been criticised too. I’m sure Wasim and Waqar were bad boys themselves who can forget Akram being alleged in ball tampering and match fixing everyone knows that?Recommend

  • Asit

    @Farhan:

    Thanks for clarifying. But can you tell us why he had to go to India to publish his book, if it was just a summary of his experiences and opinions? Do you get my point here atleast and can you answer this question with some honesty? If it was his experiences wouldnt it have been appropriate that it was published here?
    Every drama and word in the book was a cheap gimmick for making money. Can you disagree?Recommend

  • Asit

    @Farhan:
    Honestly can you answer one question? If it was his experiences and opinions, why did he have to go to India to publish his book? Wasn’t it appropriate that he published it here for his fans??
    Be honest with the answer and then you know what I am trying to say.Recommend

  • Farhan

    @Asit:
    According to me, the reason why Shoaib released his book in India is because he knew that publishers in India are stronger and would be able to get him a better release as compared to the ones in Pakistan. I could be wrong. He definitely wanted something to come out of this book and he was probably prepared for this type of reaction from the media. I definitely get your point and agree that Shoaib should have released his book in Pakistan. More money for the publishers here. However, other than the issue of his book being published in India, I don’t have any other issues associated with the book.Recommend

  • Mohammed

    Super article!

    Brilliant and I agree with it in every way.

    Shoaib Akhtar is a cheat, a liar and a coward. Recommend

  • Zain Hassan Zaidi

    I was yet thinking Kapil Dev was a batsmen!!was he really a bowler??Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/242/nicholas-sharaf/ Nicholas Sharaf

    The author’s initial claim that akhtar was nothing but pace set the tone for the rest of this article. UTTER BSRecommend

  • VS

    The book must be read. We should know other side of the story. It ain’t that bad. He wanted to serve his country and he did whatever he could do. He has struggled a lot to make it to the top.And there is nothing wrong in raising an opinion about anyone, after all its his side of the story.He has praised many players too. Its difficult to come up and write the truth and Shoaib Akthar has done that. Recommend

  • sana

    vaqas, it’s kind of rich of you to accuse people of getting personal when your biggest defence of your incredibly misinformed (and unethical, given you haven’t read the book) article is that you played against shoaib and don’t think much of him.

    i hope you read the book. it’s a beautiful read about a boy who fought obstacle after obstacle to achieve what he did yet was terribly misunderstood (and still is as your article proves). Recommend

  • Sarfraz Abbasi

    The writer who is proably not know by his very next neighbour has got to out something about someone who is having a worldclass profile. Who are you to typecast the poor kids on the earth?? Who are you? A mum pup paid partymaker till the age of 30 and then living on others shoulder? YOu are such a biased coward… Whatever Shoaib did was right, we should speak and tolerate truth. Recommend