Editorial : Shoaib bids farewell - Saturday, March 19, 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/19/shoaib-bids-farewell.html

LOVE him or dislike him, Shoaib Akhtar will be remembered decades down the line. Shoaib, who announced on Thursday that he will retire from all forms of cricket after the ongoing World Cup, is possibly the most colourful character to ever don the Pakistan cap. Fearsomely fast in his heyday, Shoaib could rip apart any batting side when on song. He once touched the 100mph mark and, on the whole, was remarkably accurate for a man of such awesome pace. But sadly for both Shoaib and Pakistan cricket, the highs have been interspersed with far too many lows. In terms of years Shoaib’s has been a lengthy career. The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ couldn’t always pull out of the station, however, and the number of matches Shoaib managed to play is not commensurate with his talent. He has often failed to make the team, for a variety of reasons. Injuries or poor fitness, physical and verbal spats with team members, run-ins with the cricket board, ball tampering, doping and numerous fines for indiscipline have all featured in the saga that is Shoaib Akhtar.
Flamboyant till the end, Shoaib’s lifestyle hasn’t always meshed with the regimen expected of a professional cricketer. But for some that is part of the charm. He is as much a sportsman as a mega-hit celebrity, the rock star of Pakistan cricket. He lives life on his own terms and revels both on and off the field. As a senior cricket writer put it the other day, Shoaib is “a man who has travelled the world and taken it in, not kept it out as so many of Pakistan’s players have”. He may rub a few people the wrong way but is admired by millions around the world and that is what counts in the end. Thank you, Shoaib, for both the entertainment and the wickets.

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