It seems like Shoaib Akhtar cannot stay away from the headlines despite being out of action.
The former Pakistan fast-bowler, who in his day could prove to be a problem child for the cricket board, ignited another controversy after he questioned the integrity of ‘some’ of the officials, saying that they wanted the national team to lose.
Akhtar, who announced his retirement during the World Cup last year, said some of the officials at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were not well-wishers of the team, adding that ‘politics’ always had a negative impact on the performance.
“It’s the truth — some people in the PCB don’t want Pakistan to win,” the former pacer said while speaking to Express News. “There’s too much politics. Our board also becomes the enemy of the player the day he becomes captain of the team. The PCB should take help from former cricketers rather taking revenge or settling old scores.”
Akhtar’s career had been a roller-coaster ride as he remained in and out of the team due to various controversies, injuries and problems of ill-discipline.
The former paceman was also banned on various occasions including a five-year ban when Dr Nasim Ashraf was the PCB chief.
‘Lee, a super athlete’
Meanwhile, the former fast-bowler praised his Australian counterpart Brett Lee who announced his retirement from international cricket.
“Lee without any doubt was a super athlete. He was a great fast-bowler. I know this for a fact that he was playing with pain since the last decade. It is unfortunate that people and managements don’t understand the problems of a fast bowler.
“They keep on fighting with injuries throughout their careers. They cannot serve for long due to repeated injuries. The world is already facing a dearth of fast bowlers and Lee’s retirement will leave a vacuum.”
‘Measures need to be taken’
Akhtar, who was nagged by several injuries in his day, said that measures needed to be taken to protect the art. “Fast-bowling is not a normal job, it’s abnormal. The number of fast-bowlers is diminishing and they need to be safeguarded. I have said repeatedly that the International Cricket Council should remove the laws and restriction on fast-bowlers.”
Akhtar to form pool of 50 pacers
Meanwhile, Akhtar said he was working to form a pool of 50 young pacemen who could serve the country in the long-run.
“Every board say our country is full of talent. But I don’t see anyone because we’ve not got a good fast-bowler for a long time.”
“The board humiliates the ones who have talent which is having adverse effects. The youngsters who take inspiration from their heroes are not coming forward after seeing what is being done to their heroes.”
He said he will launch a country-wide talent hunt for fast bowlers.
“I will go to the outskirts to find talent. I will mentor and promote them through media and in other ways.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.
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