Shoaib Akhtar, nightmare of many batsmen, to retire from cricket

"RAWALPINDI EXPRESS" is now about to reach its final destination at the end of Pakistan’s journey in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. One of world’s leading fast bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar, famously known as the Rawalpindi Express, announced his retirement during a press conference in Colombo on Thursday.

Akhtar made his international debut under the captaincy of the king of swing, Wasim Akram, at his home ground, Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, during the second cricket test match against West Indies on November 29, 1997.

Pakistan won that match by an inning and 29 runs and his first international victim was David Williams. He played his last test match against India in December 2007 in Bangalore.

During his 46 Test matches long career, he claimed 178 wickets with an average of 25.69. Akhtar’s best bowling spell was against New Zealand in the first inning of the first test match at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in May 2002, where his analysis was 8.2-4-11-6.

He picked five wickets in an inning 12 times, whereas 10 wickets in a match twice.

In the 163 ODIs, including 19 World Cup matches, Shoaib Akhtar has taken 247 wickets with an economy rate of 4.76. His best bowling analysis so far is 16/6 in nine overs against New Zealand at National Stadium, Karachi in 2002.

In 15 T20 internationals matches, Shoaib Akhtar got 19 wickets with an economy rate of 8.15. He played his last T20Is against New Zealand at Seddon Park, Hamilton in December last year.

He scored 544 runs with an average of 10.07 in 67 test innings. His highest score was 47 against India at Faisalabad in 2006. In the ODIs he scored 394 runs in 84 innings with an average of 8.95. He caught 12 batsmen in test matches and 20 batsmen in ODIs.

During his career, speed machine Shoaib Akhtar was engaged in endless controversies including ball-tampering allegations, disciplinary issues, doping accusations, hitting team mate Mohammad Asif with a bat in 2007, etc.

Recently he was punished for a night-out in Dhaka during the Pakistan team’s preparations for the World Cup.
However, it must be said that he was one of the best bowlers in contemporary cricket, and knew to use his speed, outswing from the new ball, reverse swing from older balls, yorkers, and slower deliveries.

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