Former Pakistani cricket player Shoaib Akhtar lived up to his notorious title of being “controversy’s favourite child” with the launch of his autobiography in India.
In a book titled “Controversially Yours”, Akhtar hits out at prominent names in the world of cricket and Bollywood, and hints at instances where he has indulged in ball tampering, Indian media reported.
‘Shahrukh, Modi cheated me, Akram created hurdles’
In his book, Akhtar leveled accusations against Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan and India’s former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.
In a report published in IBN LIVE, Akhtar is referred to as the “problem child of Pakistani cricket”. The report adds that in his book, Akhtar blames Modi and Khan from preventing his inclusion in the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Amongst these sensational claims, Akhtar claimed that former cricketer Wasim Akram tried to destroy his career by creating hurdles to impede his success.
‘Tendulkar and Dravid are not match winners’
A report in the Hindustan Times stated that in his book, Akhtar boasts that Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was scared of facing him on the field.
"Sachin and Dravid are not match winners to start with," Akhtar reportedly says in his book.
"This is the truth. Why must anyone fear speaking it?" Akhtar told a newspaper ahead of his book's release, Hindustan Times reported.
The report suggests that Akhtar’s allegations will “sting like Akhtar’s deliveries”, implying that they will not be received well.
In an exclusive interview with an Indian news channel Times Now, Akhtar confessed to have tampered with the the ball and argued that the practice should be legalised.
In a triangular series in 2003 held in Sri Lanka, Akhtar was caught tampering with the cricket ball, making him the second player in cricket to be banned on ball tampering charges. The same year he was banned for one Test match and two One Day International matches for abusing South African spin bowler Paul Adams, during a match against South Africa.
Sports correspondent for Indian news channel Headlines Today said that although Akhtar is respected in India as a cricketer, his allegations will not be taken seriously.
“It’s being looked at as a publicity stunt to sell the book,” said HT correspondent Shamya Das adding that Akhtar is “controversy’s favourite child”.
“Akhtar is respected, but his allegations will be taken with a pinch of salt.” He added that Akhtar’s statements are “bound to ruffle a few feathers”.
In an interview about his book with the Times of India, Akhtar said:
I hope Pakistan cricket will be understood and respected. I hope people will feel the other side of me and understand why I am the way I am.
Shoaib, who made his international debut in 1997, took 178 wickets in 46 Tests. He ended his career three wickets short of 250 in 163 One-Day Internationals and took 19 wickets in 15 Twenty20s.