Shoaib Akhtar is undoubtedly controversy’s favourite child. The former Pakistan speedster during his career as a maverick pacer and remained in the news for all the wrong reasons. Even after his retirement post the 2011 World Cup, Akhtar hogged the limelight as he openly mocked and spoke against several stakeholders of the game. Things were so serious that there was a time when Pakistanis themselves began to hate Akhtar, who was once their pride.
One such incident occurred during the ICC World Cup 2015, after Pakistan’s humiliating loss to West Indies. In Christchurch, the West Indians were put in to bat, and due to a late burst from Andre Russell, they got to 310 in the allotted 50 overs. In reply, Pakistan was 4 down for just the score of 1! Somehow though, they managed to reach 160, before it was all over. This dismal performance from Pakistan invited a lot of flak as everyone pounced upon the underperforming team led by Misbah Ul Haq.
This was when Shoaib Akhtar went wild and blasted the entire team in a news talk show. Speaking as an analyst cum cricket expert, this is what Akhtar had to say regarding the defeat.
First and foremost, the Rawalpindi Express blasted the skipper, Misbah Ul Haq:
I just can’t understand why Misbah wants to bat in the middle order despite all the wickets falling. I have noticed Misbah since the last 4-5 years since he has been leading the side. All he cares is for his own runs and contribution. A captain should lead from the front, but Misbah never does that. Rather than batting one down, Misbah only cares for his own score and bats in the middle order, which is not of any use. I haven’t seen a more coward captain than Misbah!
Akhtar then targeted another senior player, Younis Khan and even went on to bash the coach:
Well, what do I say about Younis? I am literally begging Younis to stop playing and requesting him to leave the side. He doesn’t have the technique which is needed to excel outside the subcontinent. Younis should himself announce that he isn’t capable enough of performing now. He is a very nice and humble person. But what’s the use of his humble nature if he cannot score for Pakistan?
I can’t understand the thinking of the coach (Waqar Younis) as well. Why does he want to persist with Younis despite repeated failures? The coach who wasn’t successful the first time around has been made the coach for the third time! If he could not succeed on the first attempt, then what will he do now?
The controversial pacer then blasted the PCB:
There are people who are corrupt as hell there (PCB). I’m simply heartbroken at the moment as these people are taking no step which will improve the condition of cricket in Pakistan. I’m in India right now and believe me, the people here are not even laughing at us. People once were scared of us, and now, they are mocking us to such an extent that they are not even laughing on our performance.
Akhtar then once again mocked Misbah over his style of answering at the press conferences:
Misbah doesn’t give an interview! He just announces the match summary and repeats the same obvious thing time and again. Even we know that but Misbah is frequently telling the same things and fooling us. Tell us that why Ahmad Shahzad is playing such ridiculous shots to get out! Tell us why Umar Akmal isn’t converting his starts! And tell us why is Younis Khan still in the side! Please, don’t fool us!
The controversial pacer then ridiculed the way the side was functioning at that moment:
People around me (Pakistanis) are telling that we should have hope as in 1992 as well; our team was down and out, before we revived and won the crown. But remember, we had Imran Khan back then, who was a great leader! This time around we have Misbah, who isn’t capable of doing anything and is playing just for himself. The people comparing the two have just become crazy!
He then further bashed the batting lineup of Pakistan:
I’m once again telling that please forget that this is a good and talented batting lineup. They have absolutely no technique and the batting lineup is simply pathetic. Had the batsmen been talented, they would have formed a platform for Pakistan. I’ve been watching Umar Akmal since the last 7 years. As soon as he crossed 50, I told that he would get out, and within minutes he was dismissed. This is a hopeless batting lineup and nothing else!
To conclude, Akhtar again criticized Younis Khan and the coach:
What do I say about Misbah, who is playing selfishly? And what about Younis Khan! My only suggestion to Younis is that you please only play test matches in UAE, where the pitches are dead flat which do not assist any bounce or spin. My only message to the coach would be to stop treating the 40 year old Younis like your own son!
Here is the video of Shoaib Akhtar wildly bashing the Pakistan team: