Book launch: 'Problem child' Akhtar bowls a hot one

Published: September 23, 2011
Akhtar hits out at prominent names in the world of cricket and Bollywood, and hints at ball tampering. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Akhtar hits out at prominent names in the world of cricket and Bollywood, and hints at ball tampering. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

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.

Ball tampering

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”.

Akhtar’s side

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.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Asad Shairani
    Sep 23, 2011 - 5:43PM

    He’s a star alright. I haven’t looked forward to reading a book this much for long!


  • Naveed Qurban
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:51PM

    Akhtar was a superb cricketer and a man of great personality..he is having still a cricket of 1-2 years and due some bench-er in board he have to retire..

    Inshallah i ll buy his book as soon as possible.


  • HasMan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:54PM

    yet another embarrassment for Pakistan :(


  • maria
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:08PM

    Shoaib having big heart that’s why he says the truth in front of the whole world through his book.He is right any ways. CONGRATULATIONS SHOAIB………


  • Sane Voice
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:32PM

    Akhtar’s accusations should be seen as a publicity stunt and on the behest of publishers who want to make it’s sale work….


  • Nasir
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:32PM

    no chilli no book sales!


  • My name is indian
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:58PM

    He is problem child.nobody neglect that fact.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:05PM

    The book should be taken in the
    right spirit.

    I look forward to reading it. .


  • one over
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:25PM

    well, other things side, which may be true as well….
    akhtar shouldnt say that tendulakr and dravid are not great batsmen….
    i mean werent it his over in 2003 WC, which tendulkar blasted for 18 runs and then went on to score 98…that over cost us the match…sometime it’s not just one over in a thousands ones in your career… sometime that one over cost you one of the world cups that come after 4 years….that akhtar’s over alone is a painful memory…


  • Saleem
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:12PM

    Love u shoaib. You are Hero for whole Pakistan.


  • Mikail
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:17PM

    This man, albeit very talented and a true rags to riches story, ultimately turned into a disgrace to cricket, and more importantly, to Pakistan. I sincerely hope (for everyone’s sake) that people don’t take it seriously…Recommend

  • Blithe
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:28PM

    The funny thing is that most Indians would
    agree that Sachin is not a match-winner (just
    see the amount of centuries he got where India lost).

    But I see Pakistanis needlessly getting
    defensive and defending Sachin.


  • pooja
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:46PM

    ek aur bigmouth pakistani…..talented, megalomaniac, misguided but no doubt a talented player. I sometimes wonder had he given all his interviews in urdu rather than english he wud have had ended up with 10% the controvercies he is now having behind him…..


  • Salim Mirza
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:39PM

    Rawalpindi Express No he should have been called Rawalpindi Goods Train which more often than not broke down hardly ever completing his spell of overs.


  • blithe
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:40AM

    Love you Shoaib!!!

    Everything that you are saying is 100% truthful.

    When he talks about ball tampering he means keeping one side shiny , the other side rough — all sides do it. The English team is very prodigious at doing it. These days they automatically pass the ball to Cook who rubs the shiny side in very vigourous way against his pants.

    Tendulkar is not a match winner. Check the stats on Cricinfo and you will realise that this a truthful statement (number of centurie he got where India ended up losing the match).

    Afridi is good in leaking team matters to the media. I am sure this is true,.. You can judge this by the statements Afridi keeps giving against fellow players, againt the PCB, etc., etc. The way Afridi has been playing politics by going to see the Governor of Sindh…


  • Cynical
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:21AM

    50 years from now, if someone (not from Pakistan or India) writes a history of cricket, Shoaib Akhtar might appear as a footnote while Tendulkar will surely have a paragraph at the least.


  • Sameer
    Sep 24, 2011 - 11:31AM

    well guys!!

    i have read all of your comments – advocating Shoib and denying shoib as well – but the thing is that why Rawalpindi Express did not reveal these hidden truths when he was a member of the national side? Why he did not comment about Shah Rukh when he was the member of KKR? why he did not confess the ball tampering during his career? why he did not speak about Wasim before?

    yes!!! only for cheap reputation and for catching the limelight as he is no more in the team and in the news as well.Recommend

  • Shafaaqat
    Sep 24, 2011 - 11:55AM

    I wonder why people are trying to condemn the truth. Don’t we know Sachin is not a match winner, evident from the record books, just go through. Don’t we know Wasim was always involved extra activities. Don’t we know all teams do tempering with the ball. I mean come on guys, give this guy some breathing space. Accept him the way he is or just ignore. He has been source of great entertainment and we all love him for that alone. Well done shoaib and thanks indeed for being so good over the years. We will miss your lovely bowling.


  • omg!
    Sep 24, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Yo man! Everyone should open its mouth. Every one has right to speak. I love you all what you say I believe you. Recommend

  • Noon Ghunna
    Sep 24, 2011 - 1:28PM

    What is your problem if Sachin and Dravid are not match winners.
    This is a blessing for opponents.


  • malik
    Sep 24, 2011 - 4:08PM


    Shoaib talks about tampering with bottle tops, creams and what not. In the TV interview, he said he once tampered with the ball on the pant back pocket zip. Let’s not dilute the crime by saying everyone does it. Shoaib justified it on TV saying even Sachin used to tamper the ball. In his book he says, players used to drink and come to the field.

    IN 1993 world cup final against England, England were chasing and the bowling did not look threatening. Lamb was batting. The ball was changed during drinks break and now Wasim swung the ball like crazy. The ball was tampered so badly and Lamb later said i had never seen a ball swing like this suddenly.

    During Imran’s time, he used to ask players to take oath under Quran that they will not leak these these ball tampering strategies to anyone. Each match, one player was given the responsibility to doctor the ball. He used to have fringe players stationed on the boundary lines, and whenever the ball goes to them, their job is to polish the ball using some cream or over bottle caps hidden in pockets. Even recently this used to be done, because TV cameras don’t focus on things outside the boundary line. Imran knew that they won close matches due to doctoring the ball. That is why, after winning the World Cup, he never praised his team mates; he kept talking about his cancer hospital. The reason he did not praise his bowlers was that he knew that they did not win due to their cricketing skills.

    In the recent ball tampering episode of Afridi, the reactions of team mates are most revealing. Did you see the reaction of Rana when Afridi was biting the ball? He did not look shocked or astounded; he did not cry, ‘Arrey, yaar what you are doing?” He just kept smiling when Afridi was chewing the ball. This means they have been doing this for so many years !!

    Whether we like it or not, Shoaib’s book will only confirm what everyone has been saying privately all along; the contribution of Pak to world cricket is match fixing and ball tampering!


  • Cynical
    Sep 24, 2011 - 5:08PM

    He had real pace for a while. That’s all.
    What he never had is class.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Sep 24, 2011 - 6:53PM

    @one over:
    Well scoring 18 runs in one over. Com on. What about the first ball ducks in test matches in India. Tendulkar is a great player n there will be no one in history like him forever. But Shoaib had a terror on most batsmen in world cricket.


  • Sep 25, 2011 - 12:13AM

    “Autobiography is about my life” says Shoaib Akhter. If we agree, his life was controversial for us, then dah! his book will also be controversially ours.

    We should not judge the book by its cover, we have to understand its a autobiography and it contains 36 years of information in it. We have to analyze the era, the context, the flow of the book. It will be so early to comment on the book & to give review about it. We need to have an editorial judgement before making any review.

    Let the iron be hot then we should stroke else on controversially your our comment will become controversial.


  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Sep 25, 2011 - 12:40AM

    If forty years could be so stupid what can we expect from an eighteen years old (Aamir). I am not an expert nor capable to find flaws in Sachin’s batting but one thing I must say that in Sports or any other form of entertainment, if you defame or dishonour your opponent, you end up destroying yourself. For example a bolwer comments that his opponent batsman did not have class, it means that bowler’s rejoicing after taking wicket was fake too. If Sachin says that all his hundred centuries (one less) were against average bowlers who were scared to bowl at him, his own respect is diminished too. Thanks God, other Pakistani entertainers are not so stupid, otherwise we would read that Rafi and Lata Ji did not know how to sing, Dilip and Amitabh did not know acting, R.D. Burman and Shankar Jaikishan did not know music. Praise your opponents, in return you get respect too. Thats why great generals praise their defeated opponents. Praise and respect is the only option to enhance your own credibility. He should have written, ” Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest and finest batsman the world has ever seen, and I am very proud to get his wicket on many occasions.” but Shoaib and wisdom are two different things.


  • Raj
    Sep 25, 2011 - 8:45AM

    Tendulkar avgs 43 in tests when Akhtar plays.Slightly better than his avg againist PAkistan.(42).

    Akhtar avgs 33.33 when Tendulkar plays for India.His over all avg againist India is 34.50.

    In ODIs

    Akhtar avgs 31 when Tendulkar is playing, while his over all avg againist India is 26.78.…;type=allround

    Tendulkar avgs 45.71 when Akhtar plays for Pakistan while his over all avg againist Pakistan is 39+.…;type=allround


  • latif A
    Sep 25, 2011 - 12:43PM

    I am not a big fan of Sachin, but certainly dont buy what shoib says. Sachin has won more matches for India than Shoib has for Pak. Sachin is more sincere towards his country and his team than Shoib can ever be towards his country or team. Sachin is a epitome of dignity where as Shoib is a epitome of cheap antics. No doubt this is his last chance of making some easy money by selling cheap book. We can do better without these embarassing people who bring bad name to the coutry.


  • Cynical
    Sep 25, 2011 - 2:44PM

    @Nadeem Ahmed

    A great attitude.Giving respect to others we make ourselves respectable.
    Warm regards, brother.


  • Ahsan
    Sep 25, 2011 - 3:55PM

    Guys whats wrong if he said” sachin is afraid of fast bowlers”. Whats wrong with that. No body is taking sachins greatness away. He is a great player but he just mentioned that he was afraid of fast bowlers. Ofcourse Indians will take is as an offence but its not.


  • Dhillon Bhupinder
    Sep 27, 2011 - 12:51PM

    Shoaib Akhtar is a real warrior Pakistan has produced ever. It was amazing to watch the batsmen all over the world, Shivering due to his nagging pace. He is not a folding spoon at the peak of his carrier. He never compromised his conscious.He said what he felt, that’s why he was made scapegoat by the system. There in no doubt in saying that every batsman all over the world were afraid of his pace and Sachin and Dravid are not the exceptions. We all have a view in mind of the shattered stumps of both at Calcutta and Faislabad.


  • Sep 27, 2011 - 12:59PM

    Shoaib Akhtar is real warrior in the game of Cricket, Pakistan have ever produced.He never compromised his conscious.He said all that, what he felt. He never became Folding Spoon of the authorities, who were running the game.There is no doubt that every batsman in the world feared of his nagging pace and Sachin and Dravid are not the exceptions.We have a view in our minds of the Shattered Stumps of both of these greats at Calcutta and Faislabad. When Shoaib fired every batsman shivered of his Pace and bounce.


  • Muhammad Danial Iqbal
    Sep 28, 2011 - 3:44PM

    All in all i just want to say that media is not playing the proper role of promoting the book in the right way.He is just telling his opinions nothing else and every person is allowed to do this, he just says that what he feels and approximately he is right too. Well, at the end i want to congratulate Shoaib Akhtar for his book.He is agreat bowler having a perfect attitude as his bowling is concerned.


  • Muhammad Danial Iqbal
    Sep 29, 2011 - 3:06PM

    @Nadeem Ahmed:
    if you read the book you will come to know that he admired Sachin most of the times.
    he only said about one occasion when e felt that Sachin was not out and he walked away to the dressing room, the ball did not touch the glove but he walked.Is that not stupid a batsman with this class did not even know that the ball hit the glove or not.The media is not telling the proper story they are only sticking to one point which is Sachin scared of Akhtar.he said this on only one occasion please try to understand and then comment


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