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Controversial journey of the maverick speed machine

cricket Updated: Mar 18, 2011 01:42 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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Despite trying his best to transform into 'Mr Clean' from 'Mr Controversial' while announcing his retirement, Shoaib Akhtar knew he would not be able to brush off the numerous controversies.

In fact, over the past six weeks, Shoaib has committed the most number of disciplinary code breaches in the Pakistan team and emerged the undisputed leader in paying fines for misconduct during the World Cup campaign.

While most of the breaches have been related to having a night out — something that's barred by the team management — he was fined $2,000 last week for venting his anger at wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal during the match against New Zealand.

As the players got into a huddle to celebrate Jamie How's dismissal by Umar Gul, Shoaib abused Akmal and kicked him hard on the foot for dropping Ross Taylor twice in the space of three deliveries early on. Whether it had any bearing on him being dropped for the next match against Zimbabwe on Monday could not be established, but a source confirmed that "even a senior like Shoaib cannot get away with misbehaviour".

Ever since he was punished for a night-out in Dhaka during the team's preparations, Shoaib, it was learnt, had partied late at least thrice in Sri Lanka and it led to him being punished severely every time.

When was asked about his controversial career, the veteran said, "I don't know, perhaps that's how it was supposed to happen in my life. I've had a wonderful run in international cricket. I loved being out there, bowling fast and winning matches for my country," he said. "There are a few moments but that's just a part of life. It's a process you have to go through. And you grow outof it, you turn 35 and you become mature."

Even at 35, Shoaib is far from being a mature person.