World’s fastest bowler - Shoaib Akhtar announces retirement

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COLOMBO: The world’s fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar announced on Thursday to end his international cricketing career which was filled with glory, controversies and injuries.

He made the announcement while addressing a press conference at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Neither coach Waqar Younis nor manager Intikhab Alam accompanied him as he wasn’t even wearing national colours.

Wearing a black jacket, Shoaib Akhtar, 35, looked emotional when he heralded his departure from international cricket.

He said, “This is the most significant part of my life as I have decided to call it a day…this world cup is my last one and would be the last of my international career”.
Shoaib Akhtar announces retirement, World’s fastest bowler, fastest bowler in the world 2011

He said he is available to the team management if they want him to utilise in the remaining matches of the mega event.

“I certainly wanted to continue but now I feel I should make a space for youngsters to come forward and perform for Pakistan”, he added.

“With heavy heart, I gonna take my retirement from ODIs, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I really thought I would make another time”, he stated.

“I would love to enjoy my family life and want to spend the rest of my life with my mom, dad, sister and brothers who have supported me a lot during my career. I took the decision after discussing with my family and they advised me to retire now”, Shoaib said.

“I’m happy that I never had no allegations like spot fixing or match fixing during my whole career”, he mentioned.

He said if the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) required his services, he would train the upcoming fast bowlers and keep giving tips to the budding talent that Pakistan always has.

He further stated that he had already made up his mind before the World Cup and is formally announcing the decision with the media.

“My dream to play for Pakistan came true and I wanna thank all of them who been supporting and loving me from the bottom of my heart”, Shoaib said before leaving the stage.

Earlier, in the day, Shoaib Akhtar told his team-mates about his decision before the start of the practice session at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. He delivered an emotional farewell speech during which he also thanked his mates for supporting me to the end of his career. Following his speech, players embraced him and showed their gratitude to the fastest bowler in the world.

Shoaib Akhtar started his career in 1996 but had to face controversies right from the start after he was dropped for Sahara Cup matches.

He made his Test debut in November 1997 against West Indies in Rawalpindi, his home ground, during which he took two wickets under the captaincy of Aamir Sohail.

Shoaib got the real recognition when he silenced over 100000 Indian fans in Eden Gardens Kolkata when he decimated the stumps of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on two consecutive balls.

The fast bowler never looked back after that and kept performing for Pakistan but at the same time had to face allegations of chucking, which he cleared in 2000.

However, the controversy again resurfaced in Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand in 2001 when Steve Dunn and Doug Cowie once again called his action, following which University of Western Australia’s report suggested his action looks jerky due to unique physical characteristics.

Injuries and infighting with co-players as well as coach Bob Woolmer once again took his off the limelight but he then came back remarkably as a hero to dismantle an Ashes winning England in home series on dead pitches. He took 17 wickets during the three test series but injured his ankle in the final test at Lahore.

During the just over 13 years international career, Shoaib Akhtar underwent four surgeries which eventually got the better of him and he finally called it a day during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 on Thursday in the Sri Lankan capital.
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