Friday, November 17, 2006

The Rawalpindi Express goes off the rails again

Controversy has stalked Shoaib Akhtar throughout his international career, but his latest transgression could be the final straw.

The first man to be recorded bowling at 100mph might never play for Pakistan again after being hit with a two-year ban for doping.

Shoaib will be 33 by the end of his suspension following a positive test for the banned steroid nandrolone. That in itself makes it questionable whether he will again be seen charging into the crease at full steam.

Add his celebrity lifestyle and various reported offers of acting roles, and it could well be that the next time he is seen on television is in a film.

That would be a relief to countless batsmen who have suffered against him. But it would deprive cricket of a man whose combination of explosive talent and colourful personality have brightened the sport for the last decade.

So long, Shoaib. Cricket will miss you, but Sachin Tendulkar won’t. Nor will Sourav Ganguly.

And nor, especially, will Gary Kirsten:

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