Shoaib Akhtar sits out Australia match
Shoaib Akhtar was not included in the squad for the match against Australia. The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ announced that he would be retiring from the international game after the conclusion of the ICC World Cup. Announcing his decision at a press conference
on Thursday the 17th of March, it raised a lot of questions.
While well documented, Shoaib Akhtar’s fitness and injury issues were brought to the fore front as the major reasons for his decision. Showered with praise from fellow professionals and the media alike for an illustrious career the express pace bowler truly
deserves all the plaudits.
At least for what the talented and explosive pace man did on the pitch. His various scandals, controversies and allegations not withstanding he has been Pakistan’s best bowler since the legendary pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. His 247 wickets in 163
One Day Internationals speaks for itself.
So it came to everyone’s surprise when he wasn’t selected for by his side for the match against Australia. Declared fit by the Pakistani physiotherapist for the last match against Zimbabwe he did not retain his place in the side.
Some cynics have accused the bowler of playing the retirement card in an attempt to reclaim his place in the first XI. Players have been known to come out of retirement after initially announcing their decision, and in Shoaib’s case it could be a possibility.
His retirement would have made sentiments a factor in the minds of the selectors, for a match that would be more of an exhibition and allowed room for experimentation. If it was a ploy to get back in the team it hasn’t worked.
Yet that is not a fair to place such unwarranted accusations on one of the best bowlers of his generation. Akhtar’s recent form has not been the best, and his performance against New Zealand highlighting the bowler’s struggles. Having to rely less and less
on his pace after years or wear and tear has caught up with the bowler.
His horrific over against New Zealand captain Ross Taylor where he bowled consecutive full tosses was one of two things that took the game out of Pakistan’s hands. Wicket Keeper Kamran Akmal’s dropped catches the other reason.
Many were surprised when he did not return to face the Zimbabweans as Pakistan’s main attack bowler while others anticipated the move. Either way fans of the player and of cricket in general will be relieved of the fact that Shoaib Akhtar has not hung up
his boots just yet, with at least one more game to go for his side in the Quarter finals.
Akhtar may still have his chance to end his career with a bang as he may still get a chance to do what he does best on the pitch. The Pakistan side will also be glad to know that they have a game changing bowler waiting in the wins if they ever wish to utilize