Shoaib Akhtar Biography
Shoaib Akhtar is a former Pakistani cricketer who played in all three formats of the game for fourteen years. Born on the 13th of August, 1975; he earned the nickname “Rawalpindi Express” since he hails from Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan.
He was a right handed fast bowler and is known to have delivered the fastest delivery in the history of cricket.
The delivery was as fast as 161.3 km/h and was bowled against England in the group stages of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.
Akhtar’s debut was to have come against India in the 1996 Sahara Cup played in Toronto. However, he was sent home due to indiscipline and poor attitude.
He was first picked to play on his home ground in Rawalpindi during the 2nd Test of the West Indies 1997/98 tour of Pakistan. His debut was quiet and modest as he managed to pick only 2 wickets.
He first proved himself during Pakistan's tour to South Africa in 1998. Having come into the match with a knee injury, he bowled at pace to take 5/43 and help Pakistan win in South Africa for the first time.
Rise to Glory
Akhtar's run of impressive performances started in 1999, during a pre-World Cup series against India, just a couple of years after his debut.
His most significant performance was in India in 1999 when he captured eight wickets in the Asian Test championship match at Calcutta including that of Sachin Tendulkar, whom he dismissed in the first ball that he ever bowled to him.
He achieved success in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 and the series played against Australia in 2002.
Akhtar has been involved in several controversies that have had an extremely negative impact on his career.
In a test series against New Zealand in 2004, he left the field citing injuries leading to suspicion by the captain Inzamam ul Haq and the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding his commitment to the team.
After a poor performance in the 2003 Cricket World Cup, he got involved in a verbal conflict with former Pakistan captain and fast bowler Waqar Younis. He has also been convicted of ball tampering.
On 16 October 2006 Akhtar was suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board, along with Mohammed Asif after they tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, nandrolone. This is regarded as one of the worst controversies in the history of world cricket.
Akhtar has played for three English county cricket clubs: Somerset in 2001, Durham in 2003 and 2004 and Worcestershire in 2005.
Despite having a few good innings across all three clubs he was highly criticized for not showing full commitment towards the team. He played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Akhtar has two ten wicket hauls credited to him, both of them coming in 2003. These came in a home game against Bangladesh and an away game against New Zealand.
He has been awarded the man of the match award twice in test cricket and ten times in limited overs cricket. He is the first bowler to break the 100mph barrier as well, which he did twice in his career.
Many cricket pundits believe that statistics and records don't do justice to the illustrious career that Shoaib Akhtar had.
In September, 2011 Akhtar released his autobiography, Controversially Yours. He has appeared in many television programmes across India and Pakistan. These include Game On Hai, Geo Khelo Pakistan, Mazaak Mazaak hai and Comedy Nights with Kapil.