News editors often say that the headline must reflect the essence of the story. So when I heard about the book titled `Controversially Yours’ by Pakistan’s pace bowler and `Rawalpindi Express’ Shoaib Akhtar the other day, I could not help but appreciate the fast bowler and the publishers. At least for once, he had got the perfect line and length in deciding the title of the book.
But for `Controversially Yours’, what else can you expect from a fast bowler who has always courted controversies and has no major milestones in his career apart from holding the record for the fastest delivery in cricket 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph).
Throughout his career, Akhtar came across as an impact bowler in patches and has never been able to maintain consistent pace in his bowling. He could not prolong his career through proper line and length by giving up a bit of pace.
A majority of fast bowlers are temperamental and are used to hurling the ball with all speed and tenacity at the batsmen on the other end. But then, Akhtar again missed the basics here.
Unlike his seniors and ex-captains Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis who are associated with cricket through IPL and Pakistan’s cricket respectively, Akhtar has not done any good to himself through this book as he has vent his ire both at the Pakistan Cricket Board, IPL and not surprisingly on Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. By doing so, Akhtar has shut all doors of opportunity. He can now never associate himself with any cricket machinery for now.
Coming to the book sales, Akhtar should have realized by now that even those people who are not associated with cricket will vouch for the fact that every other cricketer who writes a book will talk about Tendulkar and is purely a commercial gimmick and there will be very few takers for the same.
Given his humble background and how he has made to it to the international level (as discussed in his book), Akhtar can take a leaf out of his own writing and produce fast bowlers who are not only efficient on the cricket field but adept in handling powers that control cricket.
And that is the best way that the `Controversially Yours’ man canunwind and be at peace with himself.