Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Shoaib Akhtar: Liar Liar Pants On Fire


Quite obviously, being convicted of ball tampering, taking performance enhancing drugs and being the thorn in the side of any decent soul who has ever tried to do any good for Pakistan cricket isn't enough. Shoaib Akhtar decided he needed to bash one his team mates - with a bat, no less - to prove his point.

The point is, nobody seems to quite understand what Akhtar's point actually was.

A typically Shoaib Akhtar-esque situation has resulted in more questions than answers. Why did the fight start? Who were the protagonists? Was Shahid Afridi the peacemaker, or was it Mohammad Asif? Which company sponsored the bat that Akthar used to strike Asif? Will the said company use Akhtar and that darned bat in an advertising campaign?

On a more serious note, we have been fed absolutely conflicting versions of the events that led to Pakistan's most potent immature fast bowler of the modern generation being sent home for the second time within 12 months from an ICC event. It seems clear to me that Akhtar has taken a few liberties with the truth in an attempt to weasel his way out of an extremely tight spot.

Another question: how will the PCB punish Mohammad Asif for speaking out on the issue, after the Board issued a diktat warning all players not to do so.

It must come as no surprise to regular readers of The Match Referee that the various comment pieces from the usual suspects have left me slightly flabbergasted. It surprises me that there hasn't been a unanimous call for a permanent ban to be handed down to Akhtar. Instead, some people are wondering whether this is the end of the road for the rogue paceman.

Pakistan cricket, similar to the country itself, needs swift and decisive action. Only tough and exacting measures will bring about a sense of normalcy that is so abhorrently lacking in the current setup. There is no point pondering over what action might be a fair punishment.

There is only possible step and it must be taken to rid the game of cricket of one its most unwanted fools. Shoaib Akhtar must be banned.


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