Full name Shoaib Akhtar
Born August 13, 1975, Rawalpindi, Punjab
Current age 39 years 354 days
Major teams Pakistan, Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan, Asia XI, Chittagong Division, Durham, ICC World XI, Islamabad Leopards, Khan Research Labs, Kolkata Knight Riders, Pakistan International Airlines, Rawalpindi, Somerset, Surrey, Worcestershire
Playing role Bowler
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast
|Test debut||Pakistan v West Indies at Rawalpindi, Nov 29-Dec 3, 1997 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v Pakistan at Bangalore, Dec 8-12, 2007 scorecard|
|ODI debut||Zimbabwe v Pakistan at Harare, Mar 28, 1998 scorecard|
|Last ODI||New Zealand v Pakistan at Pallekele, Mar 8, 2011 scorecard|
|T20I debut||England v Pakistan at Bristol, Aug 28, 2006 scorecard|
|Last T20I||New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, Dec 28, 2010 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Khan Research Laboratories v Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at Rawalpindi, Jan 9-11, 2009 scorecard|
|List A debut||1993/94|
|Last List A||New Zealand v Pakistan at Pallekele, Mar 8, 2011 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Lancashire v Durham at Manchester, Jun 24, 2003 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, Dec 28, 2010 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|1/70, 0||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Pallekele||8 Mar 2011||ODI # 3123|
|2/42||Pakistan||v Sri Lanka||Colombo (RPS)||26 Feb 2011||ODI # 3109|
|0/10||Pakistan||v Kenya||Hambantota||23 Feb 2011||ODI # 3105|
|1/62, 1||Pakistan||v England||Fatullah||18 Feb 2011||Other OD|
|-||Pakistan||v Bangladesh||Dhaka||15 Feb 2011||Other OD|
|1/38, 2*||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Auckland||5 Feb 2011||ODI # 3097|
|1/32||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Hamilton||3 Feb 2011||ODI # 3095|
|1*, 0/47||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Wellington||22 Jan 2011||ODI # 3085|
|1/42, 5*||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Hamilton||28 Dec 2010||T20I # 194|
|8*, 3/38||Pakistan||v New Zealand||Auckland||26 Dec 2010||T20I # 193|
About the worst way to assess Shoaib Akhtar would be to do so through his numbers; they aren't unimpressive but rarely have they revealed so little.
From the moment Shoaib emerged on the scene in the late 90s, the world knew it was in for some career. First there was the extreme pace and there was also the attitude; Shoaib was the fastest bowler in the world, he knew it, he made sure others knew it. He was a natural successor to the legacy of Imran, Wasim and Waqar. But that he will end his career an 'if only' or a 'coulda been' is the great tragedy. He had it all and he blew it.
What he had was remarkable. Early on, in 1999, there wasn't a more thrilling sight in the world than Shoaib hurtling in off an impossibly long run and beating the world's best batsmen for pace. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were clean bowled off successive deliveries at Eden Gardens and the World Cup in England later in the year was all but Shoaib's.
Other peaks came intermittently, but from 2004 to 2006, he rediscovered a spark; the trophy was the home series win over England in 2005-06 in which he took 17 wickets. By this time not only was he still very, very quick, but he had become an extremely smart bowler, an oft-underrated aspect of his development.
But it was a false dawn and a last hurrah. In between whiles and after, there have been as many lows. The list of misdemeanours is impossibly long; doubts about his action, ball-tampering offences, beating up his own team-mates, courtroom battles against his board, long bans and heavier fines, serious career-threatening injuries and most damagingly, doping charges. In his time, he missed more than half of the Tests Pakistan played.
So much so that what he did on the field had long ago ceased to matter and has been eclipsed by his scrapes off the field. For any sportsman, that is a damning indictment.
What makes this innocuous-seeming bowler so difficult to handle?