Shoaib Akhtar is a former Pakistani cricket who used to be a right-handed fast bowler and is famous with the nickname “Rawalpindi Express.” Right now, he is pursuing a career in commentary. And most importantly, he was the first player to reach the milestone of 100 miles per hour, and he has done this twice in his career. He is also one of the cricketers with so many controversies, from testing positive for drugs to unsportsmanlike conduct. Let’s look into his career journey.
- Full Name: Muhammad Shoaib Akhtar
- Born: August 13, 1975
- Age: 47
- Height: 6 ft 0 in (183cm)
- Nationality: Pakistan
- Bowling Style: Right Arm Fast
- Batting Style: Right-handed
Check out Shoaib Akhtar’s batting stats.
Check out Shoaib Akhtar’s amazing bowling career.
Shoaib Akhtar started his career in his home ground, Rawalpindi. The test series was against West Indies in the 1997/98 tour. And Akhtar played in the second test against West Indies. His performance was good enough that he was called for the South Africa tour in 1998. He played all three matches against South Africa.
Later, Akhtar was on the team when Australia visited Pakistan. This was the tour where Mark Taylor wrote his name in the history of cricket by scoring 334*. Akhtar took only 18 wickets after 8 matches and 16 innings.
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Shoaib Akhtar began to show his impressive performance in 1999. First, he played against India in Sharjah, and then he showed one of the most significant performances against India in the 1999 World Cup. In the same year, he took eight wickets in the Asian Test championship match. His wickets consisted of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. The test match was played in Kolkata, and he bowled his first delivery to Sachin.
In 2002, he went to play against Australia and also was able to impress with his bowling. Later, in the 2003 World Cup, Shoaib Akhtar was not good enough, but Pakistan showed a poor performance, and he was dropped for the upcoming series. Later he was back on the team to play against New Zealand. And after that, there was a test series against India. In the series against India, Akhtar left the ground citing an injury, but the incident was suspicious.
In 2005, he came back to the Pakistan side to play against England. In that series, he was successful in taking seventeen wickets in three matches. There was an effective use of Akhtar as he gained the mastery of slower balls, and British players were struggling to play against Akhtar.
Throughout his career, he has been involved in so many controversies, injuries, and unsportsmanlike conduct. But he was famous as one of the fastest bowlers in cricket history. He achieved the milestone when he bowled at 161.3km/h in 1998. Also, he is in the top three bowlers who have crossed the 100mph barrier. In the 2003 World Cup, he delivered a ball at 100.2mph against England.
Out of Form and Full of Injuries
In 2007, Akhtar again returned to play after his 13-match ban was lifted. He was showing quite a form, as he took 4 wickets and gave only 43 runs against South Africa. Later that year, he was on the team to play against India. From 2007 to 2009, Akhtar faced so many injuries.
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In 2010 Asia Cup, Akhtar took 3 wickets and gave only 28 runs against Sri Lanka. It was the first match after he returned to the team. Later, he missed the opportunity to play in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20. After that, he was in the Twenty20 series against Australia. But he was not given a chance to play in that series. Then he played against England in 2010.
Akhtar again impressed by taking two wickets against England. Then he got Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif by his side, but both players were suspended. He was doing good at that time, Waqar Younis, Pakistan’s Coach, was tense about Akhtar’s injury, and the team should not rely on Akhtar as he was 35 at that time.
In the 2011 ICC World Cup, Akhtar was in the team for the group stage matches. During the series, Akhtar announced that he would take retirement after the tournament. But, due to his poor performance, he was on the team in the quarter-final match. This was the last time, he was in international cricket.
There will be so many players coming and going. Also, there are players who will be involved in controversies, but you can’t ignore them as they will throw the ball faster than a bowling machine. Shoaib Akhtar’s 161.3kmph will be remembered in the history of cricket.