Posted by عمار - aMmAr | Posted in Cricket, Weekend whining | Posted on 25-09-2011-05-2008
The time I was introduced and instantly fell in love with Cricket was such an excellent time for the game, most probably because that time Cricket was a professional sport and players concentrated majorly on Cricket. Now when I look around I see fairness cream models capitalizing on their genes, politicians taking soul credit of a glorious victory, of what was a team effort, priests who engineered the concept that it’s okay if we underperform in Cricket as far as we appear religious. And to join the bandwagon is a new category, introducing.. wait for it..drum roll… ‘Book Authors’ (tada!).
A year back when I switched writing mediums from web to print by writing for a local technology magazine, it made me realize one thing the most: the writing business is not as easy as its generally perceived. Especially if your words are on a piece of paper and you have made an factual error, then it gets really difficult to rectify it. All in all being a writer is not as easy Musharraf and our favorite bowling icon Shoaib Akhtar has made it look.
Following Shoaib’s zigzag career one could picture him in many roles (model, actor, biker, cricket coach, commentator etc) but not as an author. Before the release of the book the only piece of known writing that came from him must be on some autograph or on Kolkatta Knightrider’s contract form ( ). But he pierced into the writing business like he started Cricket; with a bouncer. Commentators and critics especially on the other side of the border are calling context of the book a gimmick, a ploy to make a lot of dough ($) by telling stories that are far from reality. It would be unfair to comment on the book without reading it. So I will stick to comment on what Shoaib has commented on the book launch and how other reacted.
1. Shoaib Akhtar accused Waseem Akram for ruining his career and delaying his debut in international Cricket.
Now in all honesty Shoaib Akhtar is not the first Pakistani cricketer who came up with such an accusation. Atta ur Rehman, Waqar Younus, Basit Ali, Rashid Latif are the known names who came up with similar claims over the period of time. Wasim Akram might be the most talented bowler in the history of cricket but he didn’t always adapt fair means to enjoy his Cricket reign. Only, if Justice Qayyum’s report was taken seriously at that time or the management in the 80’s and 90’s had the stomach to end dressing room politics, Pakistan Cricket would have been quite opposite today.
2. Sachin and Dravid are not match winners:
“….Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and the likes of them are great batsmen who dominated with the bat and were truly match-winners. Initially, when I bowled against Sachin, I found these qualities missing. He might have had more runs and records, he lacked the ability to finish the game,” – Shoaib Akhtar
Now you don’t need Shoaib Akhtar’s words to prove the mentioned fact, 20 minutes of browsing on CricInfo will statically prove the number of times high performance of Sachin (here, here, here) and Dravid (here, here and here) failed to secure a win for their team especially if they are not playing in India. Shoaib in his interview also quoted the recent England series. There was a joke floating on twitter when the Pakistani team dropped Sachin in the recent world cup semi final, the idea was to allow Sachin to score a century because we know how that turns out for India.
3. Tendulkar was scared of me
“…We bounced the ball at him and were able to unnerve him. I returned to the dressing room that first day with the knowledge that Sachin was not comfortable facing fast and rising ball. He was distinctly uncomfortable against me. That was enough to build on..”
“I bowled (Sachin) a particularly fast ball which he, to my amazement didn’t even touch. He walked away! That was the first time, I saw him walk away from me– that, too, on the slow track at Faisalabad. It got my hunting instincts up and in the next match I hit him on the head and he couldn’t score after that”, Akhtar wrote.
Considering Tendulkar’s God like status in India and in majority of the cricket fans, the above statement is plain blasphemy. But unlike the real life, Cricket matches are televised and easily found on youtube. One of the video that I found gives us some understanding of what Shoaib is talking about.
Some of the other compilations that I found on the internet tells a story that matches Akhtar’s stance.
I know, what you all are thinking. Sachin’s reign over Cricket that longs around 2 decades cannot be judged by a 5 minute video compilation or a book which has controversy writen on its cover. But just because Shoaib Akhtar failed to build a respectable status on media or the cricket world as an individual does not mean that the bowling skills that made world’s greatest batsmen (Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting or even Sachin Tendulkar) ‘thoroughly uncomfortable’ is a work of fiction. The fact that it actually happened some time ago and considering the number of cricket that is being played every year now leaves us with no memory of the last series we watched and enjoyed should not rule out how awesome Shoaib Akhtar once was.
Having said that, he should not have chosen the controversial route to re-claim popularity. It might get him reasonable book sales but not respect in the long term. Wish the book was more about his intense training, his resilient comebacks, his natural speed defying his physical disparities and his not much discussed honesty in a team known for match fixing and related corruption. Commentators on twitter are calling him Zulfiqar Mirza of Cricket but we all know that exposing people is so August, 2011. It didn’t work then and might not work now. Are you listening @iamshoaibakhtar?
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