Twenty20 World Cup 2007 September 7, 2007

Asif's thigh, Shoaib's end?

Shoaib Akhtar hit Mohammad Asif in the thigh but he shot himself in the foot. There can be no excuse for striking anybody let alone with a cricket bat. That you would attack a colleague under the glare of the international media is an extreme misjudgment, the behaviour of an individual who is incapable of self-control, unwilling to accept the bounds of common decency, and delusional about his own importance.

One reason why Shoaib continues to transgress, of course, is that he keeps getting away with it. He has rescued his career repeatedly. Hyperextension, unprofessional behaviour, dismal fitness, and performance enhancing drugs have failed to halt him. Whenever he returns it is with a surprising arrogance, blind to any of his weaknesses and the blame placed on others.

Shoaib has always mustered support. His extreme speed and attacking approach is an exhilarating spectacle. Like many others I have believed his madness could be harnessed into a valuable role for Pakistan cricket. But perhaps I and many others must now accept that we got it wrong. Shoaib has become uncontrollable and there is no success in sport without discipline, not even for wild men.

Shoaib will grovel, apologise, make some feeble excuses for his behaviour--and there may have been some diabolical provocation--but nothing predicts behaviour like behaviour, and when it comes to Shoaib we all must have run out of patience at the ongoing damage to Pakistan cricket.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here