ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Shoaib Akhtar retires

Shoaib the fastest I've faced - Ponting

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 18, 2011

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

Shoaib Akhtar bowls in the nets, Colombo, March 17, 2011
Ricky Ponting on Shoaib Akhtar: "The fastest bowler I've faced in international cricket." © AFP
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Ricky Ponting has congratulated Shoaib Akhtar on "an outstanding career" and said Akhtar was unquestionably the fastest bowler he had faced while playing for Australia. The two men could face off one final time in Colombo on Saturday, after Akhtar announced he would retire at the end of the World Cup, and Ponting said he would always remember the battles they had shared.

"I had some great duels with Shoaib over the years," Ponting said. "To this day, I've always said he's the fastest bowler that I've ever faced in international cricket. There's one spell that everyone can watch on the internet of him bowling to me at the WACA. That was reasonably entertaining - more so for Justin Langer, who was at the other end laughing at me all the time when I was trying to keep Shoaib's deliveries out.

"He was express pace, a very, very good bowler. Over the years he's had his fair share of injuries that have not allowed him to play as much as he would have liked. But even in this tournament so far, you can see that he's still got it with the new ball. He still has good pace, and his experience has helped him at different times as well. Congratulations to him on what has been an outstanding career."

Shoaib made his decision known to his team-mates on Thursday morning at an emotional gathering where he delivered a farewell speech and was embraced by fellow players and support staff.

"We feel sad for Shoaib as he has been a very nice team-mate and we'll always remember him as someone who always tried hard for the team and every player thanks him," Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, said.

The Pakistan coach Waqar Younis added: ""I played with him and then coached him. He has been a great bowler for the country and served the team well. It is a nice way to leave the place for youngsters and that's something we must appreciate."

Several former Pakistan captains also paid tribute to Shoaib. "I would like to remember him as a tear-away bowler who with his strike-rate was a match-winner on his day. He battled through injuries and controversies with a lot of heart throughout his career," Ramiz Raja, now a television commentator, said.

Rashid Latif claimed Shoaib was the fastest bowler he kept wicket to. "He was amongst the most glamorous cricketers of all time," Latif said. "He was famous for his attitude but let me tell you he was down to earth and never been a problem for me when I was his captain. The only worry for me was his pace, quite easily he was the fastest bowler I kept to."

Aamer Sohail added it would be difficult for Pakistan to find a replacement for Shoaib. "When I captained him I found him to be very responsive and eager to perform for the country. He has done the right thing to retire now but it will take time for someone to take his place.

"He has set a good precedent for the future generation of cricketers."

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 65 
Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (March 21, 2011, 20:03 GMT)

Akhtar should be brought back - he is a match-winner and he is best at the highest level. His record against Australia in Australia speaks volumes when all Pakistani bowlers and batsmen (except for Salman, and a couple of other batsmen from Karachi, who only played a few games for Pakistan because of politics) were being smashed.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2011, 15:37 GMT)

australian cricket fans love u so much, i have had tributes from a few colleagues i know. it will be hard to replace you, hope you at least consider playing 20/20 cricket.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

Shoaib The Greatest Bowler Of All Time...We Gonna Miss you Love You Shoabiiii...

Posted by malik14325 on (March 21, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

we will miss u shoaib bhai....i think u r the only bowler people like to see otherwise all like to see batsmen....i appreciate ur decision as it is a good end to ur brilliant career....u r our real hero...i hope pakistan finds a bowler like u...god bless u and best of luck for rest of ur life

Posted by   on (March 21, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

shaba shaba shaba SHOAIBI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by AAKKHHOO on (March 21, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

A True sensation and Motivation for Fast Bowlers and a very strong Charactor while facing all the issues and controversys in his career...

Posted by mrfez on (March 20, 2011, 16:41 GMT)

Shoaib Akhtar is easily my favorite cricketer because he is a match winner and not a match fixer and whenever he has bowled he has looked to give his 100 percent, he has made Pakistan proud and will be truly missed not only by Pakistan but the whole cricketing world, players like Shoaib Akhtar can't be replaced he is the best.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2011, 15:35 GMT)

Shoib was probably the last in line of the great great fast bowlers Pakistan has been able to produced continuously over the years.He was the fastest them all and at his best almost unplayable due to his share pace and swing. a tremendously gifted player who could have performed much much better and could have much better records had he been slightly cool headed and not got involved in off the field events and usless contravorcies. nevertheless a great asset to Pak cricket and a superb athlete he was,,, hats off Shoaib. lets see who gets the adrenaline flowing in Pakistan's attack after you

Posted by cdeeky on (March 20, 2011, 13:14 GMT)

Had Shoib was cool temprament, his career would have stretched a longer and in that process he might have taken more wickets and brought more laurels to Pakistan.

What is in the bag after retirement. Coaching or become a Commentator.

We wish him best of luck.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

Very True and well said Ponting...he is the fastest man in Cricket....he is unique and I would daresay like SHOIAB takes birth once in cricketing era....or at least 100 year....He was so passionate he used to become mad when running to deliver the balls...the chorus of fans in the stadium....great...great....the charging atmosphere...was awesome and will be missed....love you SHOIAB...GOD bless you!!!

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