Shoaib Akhtar is one of the cricketers in the world who has brought glitz and glamour to the game. Shoaib was the first bowler in the history of the game to record bowling speed of 100mph. Furious on the field but quiet mild off it, Shoaib was in Dubai to launch Sprite Cricket Stars programme.
Shoaib shed some light on the current cricketing issues while talking to Khaleej Times: “I started playing cricket by following Imran Khan.
“Cricket has given me a lot and now I want to give something back. I am ready to help burgeoning fast bowlers if I am asked by Pakistan Cricket Board. I have spent 20 years on the field and I think it is more than enough. I am ready to serve my nation if the PCB asks me. I can work on voluntary basis.”
The PCB recently organised a fast bowling camp supervised by legend Wasim Akram. The winner of the competition Ahmed Jamal who reached speed of 143km, said he was inspired by the bowling of Shoaib. “I am really flabbergasted when Jamal said these words about me. Pakistan has fast bowling talent in abundance.
“The boys need only guidance. A little-known Jamal has cracked 143km and I am sure if he is looked after properly he can bowl much faster than that.”
When asked about Pakistan’s chances in the Champions Trophy to be played in England, Shoaib said: “Pakistan is one of the best sides in the world. They need to bat out 50 overs and if they do that they stand a good chance in the Champions Trophy. Pakistan has bowling to win matches but batting remains a big worry for them. The PCB is trying to improve batting by hiring new coaches but I don’t think it is going to work for them.
“You can’t coach players at the age of 27 and above. A cricket team needs a good captain. A good captain can change the fortunes of the team and he should be larger than life character.”
Reacting to the news of Shahid Afridi, who has been dropped from Champions Trophy squad, Shoaib said: “Nobody can deny the talent of Afridi but now he is on the wrong side of the age. He can not sit on past laurels. He needs to perform consistently. He has not done well in the near past which cost him place in the team. He has done a great service to Pakistan cricket and he needs a respectable send off.”