Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shoaib Akhtar Speaks (The Truth?)

Autobiographies really are something. It is a time when self important sporting celebrities get to wave their creative pencil and indulge themselves in a self-made ego trip. Most of them are ignored as they lack the creativity, or the writing skill, or are just plain boring outside of the game. Then you get the select few personalities who carry off interesting laughs and anecdotes and make the experience a pleasure to read.
And then there is Shoaib Akthar.
Anything less than borderline insanity from this man would have been a let down, and lo and behold he has delivered. When it comes to stirring up a storm in a tea cup, he is a natural. Unlike Afridi though, Shoaib is articulate, and his points dive into grey and debatable areas instead of being dismissed as tripe.
What did he have to say in the aptly titled “Controversially Yours”? Does he make a point or is he simply a bag of wind?
1. Sachin and Dravid Are Not Match Winners
In Dravid’s case, total nonsense. He single handedly won games for India in both forms of the game and was often the last man standing amongst dominoes. To suggest that Dravid “didn’t know the art of finishing the game” is nothing more than a cheap shot at the great man. Credibility 0/10.
Above the belt pelase. © Getty Images
In Sachin’s case though, maybe he has a point. Sachin through the nineties was a frustrated lone figure who got nil support from his inept team mates. You can’t fault him for being unable to do it all alone, everybody else were looking after their own pockets. The Sachin of the 00′s was a different figure though, he finally had adequate batting backup and was allowed to pile up the runs carefully. Guilty of being a run glut, yes. Guilty of not winning matches, it can also be argued. He has far less Dravid’s and Laxman’s in his innings vault. Credibility 5/10.
2. Sachin Was Scared Of Him.
Rubbish. This is the guy who manfully fought Wasim & Waqar, Lee & McGrath, Ambrose & Walsh, Steve Bucknor… the list goes on. While not always coming off the winner of the battles, never ever backed down, be it 16 or 36 years old. Why should he be scared of Shoaib? Has he forgotten the 03 World Cup? Credibility 0/10.
3. The IPL Cheated Him
Believable, and he won’t be the last. The IPL is built on a foundation of masses, greed and corruption. He joined a team run by an arrogant Bollywood star in a tournament run by an arrogant nobody Lalit Modi. With a set-up like that, it was inevitable. A paint job will only cover the cracks in a dam, soon this whole circus will be flooded by a crashing wave. Shoaib should have known better than to take part. Credibility 8/10.
4. Everyone Ball Tampers
Correction, Pakistan ball tampers. And no it shouldn’t be legal, where do you draw the line, a maximum fingernail length in the ICC code of conduct? My only hope is that the pioneers of swing such as Imran aren’t exposed to have resorted to dirty methods in the past, although I get the feeling it just may happen. Credibility 8/10.
Michael Jackson impersonations are perfectly legal though. © AFP
5. Shoaib Malik Shouldn’t Have Been Captain
A stab at his own team mate? Only he would dare, but again he actually has a point here. Malik was an above average ODI batsman at best, with a shaky test career and a dodgy bowling action, with an eye for female tennis players. Why was he made captain? On paper it looks like a nothing decision, possibly influenced by those that favoured Malik. But in reality one must also consider that Pakistani teams were often unstable and a logical choice for captain was not always clear. Again debatable.Credibility 7/10.
6. He Was Humiliated
Shoaib didn’t spare anyone, even lashing out at Wasim Akram and partially blaming him for not fulfilling his career to its potential. I’m not sure how big a part politics played, but they were certainly present as he was inexplicably robbed of a swansong finish against India in the World Cup semi final. It must be said though that despite whatever corruption and vendettas he may have had to face, he was an unlikeable and destructive person to begin with. Most of what we had to put up with was a result of his own actions and he has nobody to blame. Credibility 5/10.
Surprisingly all in all, the points Shoaib Akhtar made in his autobiography were not entirely a load of pies. While dealing out low blows to Indian batsman, he dealt to his former team mates and management with equal measure and venom. Will it have an impact? Probably not, Shoaib Akhtar lashing out is really about as credible as…
This. © Getty Images
Contributed by : Varun Prasad
Original Post : The Cricket Musings

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