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Shoaib Akhtar

Name: Shoaib Akthar

Birth date: August 13, 1975
Hometown: Rawalpindi, Punjab
Teams: Pakistan, Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan, Asia XI, Durham, ICC World XI, Khan Research Labs, Kolkata Knight Riders, Pakistan International Airlines, Rawalpindi, Somerset, Worcestershire
Debut: Test: November 29, 1997 l ODI: March 28, 1998 l T20I: August 28, 2006 


An Enigma – possibly one of the more politer ways to describe Shoaib Akhtar, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’.


On his day, a ferocious express bowler, capable of blowing away batting line ups with 100mph deliveries, however the most discussed Pakistani cricketer of all time was often in the news for his ‘off-field’ indiscretions.


An unfulfilled career that should have offered more netted 178 test wickets in 46 matches – Akhtar having missed as many matches through injury and suspensions.


There were more low points than high – disagreements with the captain, coach and PCB ranging from claims of him ‘feigning injury’, ‘breaking curfews’, ‘ball-tampering’ and general ‘bad attitude’ towards his captain and team-mates.


The lowest point in his career undoubtedly came on the eve of the 2006 Champions Trophy, when he tested positive for Nandrolone – and then being left out of the 2007 World Cup squad on ‘injury grounds’.


Having forced his way back into the squad for the 2007 World T20, he was alleged to have attacked his team mate, Mohammad Asif – leading to another fine and a 5 year ban from international cricket. Shoaib contested the fine while he appeared for the Indian Premier League and also a short stint in County Cricket for Surrey.


He made a comeback to Pakistan's national side in the T20 Quad-series tournament in Canada, but poor fitness prompted further questions. He again made it into a ODI series against Australia in UAE but only playing half of the games, he was again the talking point back in the country as to why he was selected. Many critics now felt that he may have bowled his last ball in Pakistani colours.


With age not on Shoaib’s side, and plenty of younger bowlers waiting to step into his boots, it’s unlikely that Shoaib will add to his test appearances.


For Pakistani fans, it’s more a case of ‘what could have been’.


After a tough world cup stint in which Pakistan lost to India in the semi-finals with Akhtar not being selected, retirement became inevitable. As expected, Shoaib Akhtar announced his retirement at the end of the world cup run. An up and down, yet exciting career came to a rushing halt. Even the fastest of trains have to stop one day, just like this express one from Rawalpindi. 

Post his retirement and taking a much needed break from cricket, Shoaib Akhtar published his autobiography which contained many pieces of information of world cricket which sparked a lot of debate in different circles. This book became easily the most famous book ever to be published by a cricketer. 

Nowadays, Shoaib is mostly involved in media activities related to cricket and is often seen on TV as a cricket expert and providing his analysis on different aspects of Pakistan cricket when the team is on tour. 

[Last updated: December 24, 2013]