Wednesday, 2 April 2008

End of Shoaib, the enigma

This was probably inevitable. For a guy who toyed with career as if it was his enemy’s, this was bound to happen. And as the Pakistan Cricket Board handed out a five-year ban on the Rawalpindi Express, effective ending his career, you don’t know whether to sympathise with Shoaib Akhtar or hail the ban.

Here you had a youngster who had all the ingredients that could make him the best bowler of his generation, if not an all-time great. Scorching toe-crushers, a well-disguised slower, nasty bouncer and a perfect built to survive the ordeal called fast bowling– an aspiring fast bowler could not have asked for more.

But Shoaib was done in by a self-destructive streak.

He would push aside suggestions by the few well-wishers he had among fellow/former cricketers. Success got to his head at an early age and he could not banish the demon ever. Instead, he nursed it inside and the result was ugly manifestations, one after another.

Pampered by the Tauqir Zia-led PCB to the point of being spoilt, Shoaib steadfastly refused to change. Isolated from jealous teammates who grudged his privileged status in the side, Shoaib became selfish. Challenging the speedgun seemed his sole mission when he started the run up. Poor Bob Woolmer could not convince him to cut short that spectacularly long run-up, even though that often invited slow over-rate for the side.

The fitness regimen he followed was flawed to the end. Shoaib would probably go down in cricket’s history as the guy who was ruined by the growing gym culture that threatens to ruin many a career. Fledgling pacers need to develop muscle, but that does not mean you have to resemble the WWF hulks.

But there you had Shoaib, a torso as heavy as a payloader, gasping for breath in the boundary lines and frantically sniffing from an inhaler after a four-over spell exhausted him.

His macho image, frequent hobnobbing with glamour world – Shoaib gradually became a narcissist. He was more hype than substance. We saw more of those tantrums than his yorkers. He became a problem child that every captain wanted to abandon. And all along, Shoaib still could not see the writing on the wall and mend his ways.

This is not the way one would like to see a player go. Mentors around the cricket globe would cite his example before warning their wards not to go the Shoaib way. Shoaib could easily have been a history-maker. Alas, he preferred to be a history-sheeter.



King Cricket said...

Banned for breaking the code of conduct that doesn't apply to him because he didn't get a contact - which was what he was complaining about.

He'll be back within the week.

Som said...

Hail King. But I guess it's all over for Shoaib. PCB has threatened him not to move court, else he would not be allowed to play in the IPL. Now that's catch 22 situation for Shoaib. Here goes the link.

Ottayan said...


Surely he could have done more with his god given talent.

Q said...

"Success got to his head at an early age"

Not true. He made his debut in 1998 under Wasim Akram. He had his best years when Wasim and Waqar were around as captains or players, i.e. from 1998 to 2003 WC.

His accomplishments during that period are well known to all.

It is after Wasim and Waqar left post 2003 WC when the problems started.

The PCB started treating him like star, as u said he was pampered, he was allowed perks that other players weren't and obviously this treatment made him feel like the superstar, above the other players, and above the game.

The PCB mishandled him, didn't manage him properly, and nor did his captains after Wasim and Waqar.

The board and the management let it get to this level today where they have had to ban him.

Its a mistake caused by the so called leaders of Pak cricket and they have punished Shoaib for it.

Complete Injustice!