Friday, March 25, 2011

B-Bye Rawalpindi Express !!!

Gutsy Shoaib Akhar will retire after World Cup 2011 © AFP

In-n-Out, fitness problems, scandals, controversies, devil-may-care attitude, triumphs, bans and reversals is all Shabby has witnessed in his 14-years long career. He is Pakistan's maverick paceman and world's fastest bowler fans have ever witnessed in the cricket world - enigmatic Shoaib Akhtar, praised as 'spellbinding' by world's top batsmen, started his career with full-throttle but lost his beans in the twilight. The guy who was never scared of little-master Tendulkar and prevailed over him on many occasion due to his ability of bowling with full power.

Now Shoaib Akhtar has announced his retirement from the International Cricket and he won't be available to serve Pakistan after World Cup 2011.

“Yes, I will quit international cricket after the World Cup” the 35-year-old told AFP. “I have taken this decision after much thought. Pakistan’s last match in this World Cup will also be my last. I hope that will be the final on April 2.”

Some peoples believe that Kamran Akmal is responsible for Shoaib’s early-retirement. He would not have announced his retirement too early if Pakistan had not lost against New Zealand. Many also believe that Akmal is also responsible for his ‘resting’ after New Zealand game.

Akhtar, who made his international debut in 1997, took 178 wickets in 46 Tests, the last of which was against India at Bangalore in 2007. He is three wickets short of 250 in 163 one-day internationals and has taken 19 wickets in 15 Twenty20 internationals. He holds the record of cracking world's fastest delivery at 161.3 km/h.

Praised by allmost every batsmen who faced his music and every avid fan of cricket. Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries in the Calcutta Test which Earned him the nickname of “Rawalpindi Express”.

“We feel sad for Shoaib as he has been a very nice team-mate and we’ll always remember him as someone who always tried hard for the team and every player thanks him,” said skipper Shahid Afridi.

Former captain Ramiz Raja said he would like to remember Shoaib as a fighter.

“I would like to remember him as a tearaway bowler who with his strike-rate was a match winner on his day. He battled through injuries and controversies with a lot of heart throughout his career,” said Ramiz.

Intikhab also praised Shoaib’s decision. “He has done a fantastic job for Pakistan and bowled his heart out. I feel sorry for him today but he chose a graceful way, we need characters like him on the field,” he stated.

Coach Waqar Younis praised Shoaib’s decision. “I played with him and then coached him. He has been a great bowler for the country and served the team well. It is a nice way to leave the place for youngsters and that’s something we must appreciate,” he said.

Sarfraz Nawaz, another former Test pace bowler, said: “There is no doubt that Shoaib is one of the best bowlers of all times. He won many matches for Pakistan and was a nemesis even for the world’s top batsmen.”

Shoaib Akhtar career timeline

Shoaib Akhtar’s career timeline after the Pakistan pace bowler on Thursday announced his retirement from international cricket after the World Cup:


Removed from the team for the Sahara Cup against India in Canada on grounds of indiscipline.


Akhtar makes his Test debut against the West Indies in November at his home ground in Rawalpindi, taking two wickets.

February 1999

Akhtar dismisses Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries in the Calcutta Test, which Pakistan win to lift the Asian Test championship. Earns nickname of “Rawalpindi Express”.

December 1999

Akhtar’s action called for the first time, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) allows him to carry as only his bouncer causes concerns.

March 2000

Banned for one ODI and fined for reaching team hotel late in Pakistan.


Akhtar’s action called for second time after taking five wickets in New Zealand.

November 2001

Shoaib Akthar earned the nickname of 'Rawalpindi Express by his fans © AFP
Action called for third time in Sharjah, after which Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) carries out examination at University of Western Australia which concludes his action is result of “unique physical characteristics” which form basis of him being cleared to continue.

November 2002

Reprimanded for ball-tampering and banned for one ODI after throwing water bottle at a spectator in Zimbabwe.

May 2003

Banned for two ODIs and fined 75 per cent of match fee for ball-tampering during a tri-series in Sri Lanka

March 2003

Akhtar bowled at 100mph in Pakistan’s match against England at Cape Town, becoming the first bowler in the history of the game to break the 100mph barrier.

October 2003

Banned for one Test and two ODIs for abusing Paul Adams in the first Test against South Africa, after taking eight wickets in the match to help Pakistan win. In second Test against New Zealand, helps Pakistan win with seven-wicket burst (11 in the match).

March 2004

Akhtar accused of feigning injury after Pakistan lost Test series to archrivals India 2-1.

October 2006

Akhtar and Mohammad Asif test positive for banned steroid nandrolone. Akhtar banned for two years and Asif for one year, bans which were lifted on appeal.

September 2007

Akhtar hits Asif with a bat, two days before the World Twenty20 in South Africa. A month later the PCB fine and ban him for 13 one-day matches

January 2008

Excluded from list of central contracts. A fuming Akhtar criticises the PCB. A disciplinary committee bans him for five years. Punishment reduced to 18 months on appeal, but fine imposed

May 2009

PCB drop him from World Twenty20 squad.

January 2011

Selected in Pakistan’s World Cup squad, despite coach Waqar Younis saying he is not 100 percent fit.

March 2011

Akhtar announces he will retire after the World Cup

Career Timeline by E. Tribune 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My World Cup XI for Pakistan

Pakistan has played their 4 group matches and are at number 2 in Points Table with Kiwis leading the table. Though Pakistan have almost qualified for the the Quarter-final, but their squad selection has been pretty ordinary. I’ve selected my own Pakistan team; a pretty good one which can defeat any biggie in the World Cup.

These two are struggling with the bat in World Cup © Getty Images
My first opener is Ahmed Shehzad because of his aggressive attitude which is required by all most all openers in One-Day game. Above all, he is a young dashing opener from the city of Lahore. He recently scored his maiden ODI century against Kiwis at their home turf, but unfortunately induced the collapse in World Cup group match.

He will be joined by Muhammad Hafeez because he is only other regular opener in Pakistan side. Kamran Akmal can’t play here. So, just go with Muhammad Hafeez. He can get you off to a good start. Not only, he commence the innings, but can bowl as well; a pretty good option for an all-rounder.

At number 3, you need a competent batsman who can rotate strike consistently with his team-mate at the other end. None other than Younis Khan comes at at one-down. He is one of the finest batsman in current Pakistan squad at number 3, who can disturb any opponents by his consistency no end.

At number 4 comes one of my favourite batsman, Misbah-ul-Haq. He is one of the unflappable batsman, I've seen in Pakistan side since I joined The Cricket World in West Indies tour of Pakistan in 2006/07. He has got the technique to keep the the man at scoreboard busy by rotating strike no end. Two in one package, who can bat long without losing his enormous wicket.

Umer Akmal comes at number five slot because he is suitable for all conditions, whether It's a crunch time against big team or playing against minnow, he enjoys his game. His go at the every ball shows that he doesn't lack bottle. He just needs to avoid hook shots on spinners.

I first gave this slot to Kamran Akmal, but his feckless performance with that bat and gloves against New Zealand dropped him to 8. Then, I thought of Afridi at number 6, but Abdul Razzaq's thunderous 109 against South Africa last year in UAE earned him this slot. His gutsy 109; the innings which convinced me that he can halt the collapse of team. So, one must keep him at number 6 to keep batting line vehement.

The skipper Shahid Afridi gets number 7 because he is playing as a bowler rather than as batsman. He has proven his form, too, though not in batting but in bowling by taking 15 wickets in the tournament so far and is leading the top-wicket takers list. He can help the team in crunch times by his batting too through his violent batting style.

The only culprit left in Pakistan team © AFP
After that comes butter-finger keeper, Kamran Akmal; elder brother of Umer Akmal and ne'er-do-well guy. A player who is more like a kamikaze pilot than player these days; seems to be indulge in hara-kiri while batting. So, he will slot in at six. I hate him, but he is in my playing XI for the team is without any specialist wicket-keeper; not like him.

Umer Gul is my only choice to share new ball with Akhtar. A guy full of beans whose yorkers don't respect the batsman facing the music, a man experienced in rattling the wood-work behind batsman. He can play a vital role in the first 10 overs of the innings.

Shoaib Akhtar known as the Rawalpindi Express is the obvious choice to lead pace attack for my Pakistan playing XI. He holds the record of bowling world's fastest ball at 161.3 km/h. A full throttle guy who deceives the batsman capriciously. He, alongwith Umer Gul can win us the World Cup in absence of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Saeed Ajmal will join the skipper in spin department, because of his variation in every delivery he bowls. His main weapon is 'doosra' which he uses to chafe his opponent team batsmen.

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