Shoaib Akhtar is no alien to grabbing headlines, notably for the wrong reasons.
His recent controversy is not with a ball in hand, or even with a nail on it, but in the form of his autobiography that was launched in New Delhi yesterday. Five months away from the spotlight, Akhtar created waves as he came out with all the weapons in his armour, targeting former opponents as well as teammates.
Controversially Yours created a stir across the border, with the Indian media launching a scathing criticism due to an attack on Sachin Tendulkar. Excerpts, tweets coupled with the maverick Akhtar’s statements drew widespread reaction and criticism.
Tendulkar, though, refused to comment on the rising Akhtar delivery arguing that the Indian legend was not a match-winner.
“It’s below my dignity to react to Shoaib’s comment,” said Tendulkar. Akhtar also targeted former India batsman Rahul Dravid and said the duo feared his pace, just like everybody else.
“Every batsman has that fear when a bowler bowls close to 100 miles per hour,” said Akhtar. “It’s just a matter of disguising it well. Australians do it much better than the Indians.”
In the book, Akhtar has also accused Wasim Akram of destroying his career and recalled an incident when former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq ran towards the then coach Javed Miandad with a bat in his hand amid fear of getting dropped from the team.
He had words for Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan as well and said that while the India actor still owed him money after his Indian Premier League stint, he took good care of him. “He really looked after me when I was there. But I still haven’t received my money,” said Akhtar.
The second launch of the book takes place in Mumbai tomorrow but there are no signs for an official launch of the book this side of the border. “We have no plans on launching the book in Pakistan right now,” a spokesperson for Harper Collins, the publishers, told The Express Tribune.
The 36-year-old’s autobiography is likely to stay in the headlines in the coming days and while revelations keep on pouring, these are anxious moments for the cricket fraternity as Akhtar is bound to deliver more short-pitched stuff.
“I was offered Rs1.3 million in 1999 to indulge in match fixing”
“Everyone tampers with the ball. I did too. Tampering should be legalised”
“Dravid and Tendulkar weren’t match-winners”
“Akram destroyed my career”
“Malik was made captain because he was a stooge of Nasim Ashraf”
“I should have never listened to Modi and Shahrukh”
“Miandad was a great batsman but I think as a coach he left much to be desired”
“Waqar talks about team discipline and manners as if he was the epitome of it all”
“Someone else was facing a rape allegation, his name was kept a state secret and my name was sacrificed”
“If I ever get married and have children, I would never encourage them to join this profession”
“Tendulkar might have more runs and records but he lacked the ability to finish a game”
“The hardest batsman I ever bowled to was Inzamam. I never once got him out, not even in nets”
“Afridi did what he always does: leaked the news. He is very friendly with the Karachi media”
“Intikhab has been saying to me that he is sorry for everything that has happened”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2011.