Controversially yours – Shoaib Akhtar turns back the clock!

Published: September 25, 2011
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The questions is: are Shoaib Akhtar's accounts real or is he just seeking the limelight? PHOTO: AFP/FILE

A new chapter to the history of one of the most controversial cricketers to ever grace the game was added as Shoaib Akhtar’s autobiography was launched in India on Friday.

Akhtar is supposedly the fastest bowler that the game has ever seen and is best remembered not only for bowling missiles that had stumps after stumps flying all around the ground but also for his antics off the field which included fights with the PCB,  many disciplinary hearing and suspensions. His long run up to the bowling crease was as talked about as his driving around in an expensive sports car when on tour. He was the ultimate ‘Rawalpindi Express’!

But all this is about to change with the release of ‘Controversially Yours’. This is what he will always be remembered for from now onwards.

From the excerpts that have been released to the media, the book marks Akhtar’s journey from an economically deprived childhood, when his family couldn’t even afford new clothes for Eid, to breaking into the Pakistani team, to becoming the man that broke the 100mph barrier.

Keeping with the title and his career record, the book is filled with controversial revelations and Akhtar has taken a swap at all and sundry including the ‘King’ Khan”. Actually, he has thrown punches left, right and centre at just about everyone.

In his autobiography, Akhtar termed the former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and Shahrukh Khan as cheats who swindled him out of his fair share of the IPL money and has revealed that Shahrukh Khan never wanted him in his team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, but it was Sourav Ganguly who got him included.

Akhtar has taken jibes at his former captains in the book saying that Wasim Akran wanted to end his career and that Shoaib Malik was a PCB ‘stooge’. I quote:

Shoaib Malik doesn’t deserve to be captain and was made captain because he was a stooge of the PCB Chief Naseem Ashraf” and “Wasim Akram threatened to walk out with half the team if I was included in the team.”

Taking a dig at the Indian greats, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Akhtar has called them as ‘not match winners’ and considers Dravid to be better than the little master. He says that neither Dravid nor Sachin knew how to finish matches.

“Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and the likes of them are great batsmen who dominated with the bat and were truly match-winners. Initially, when I bowled against Sachin, I found these qualities missing. “

“I think players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid weren’t exactly match-winners to start with, nor did they know the art of finishing the game.”

He also accused Tendulkar of being scared of him and his scorching pace and cites an incident that happened in Faisalabad where he believed Tendulkar chickened out.

Talking about ball tampering and his two suspensions by the ICC for the offense, Akhtar admits to tampering with the ball and even cites examples of how he doctored the ball on different occasions. He feels that it should be legalized as everyone does it.

No team is innocent and virtually every fast bowler does it. That is the only way to survive because the wickets are so slow.”

Leveling accusations at his contemporaries in the Pakistani team, Akhtar has revealed that all Pakistani fast bowlers indulged in ball tampering. He even narrates an incident where an unnamed Pakistani cricketer switched the ball in the umpires pocket during lunch session so that he could make it reverse swing.

The book has created a lot of excitement, stir and outrage already, especially in India and on the face of it appears to be an interesting read and I guess is a must for all the Pakistani cricketing fans.

But, it might be a bit difficult to get hold of the book considering that there are no plans of launching the book in Pakistan at the moment.

A lot of allegations and accusations have been leveled in the book and with no concrete proof available for many of these, one will have to decide for themselves whether these are true or it is just a publicity stunt by a cricketer who loves the limelight as much as he loves bowling fast.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

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