Pak team management against Shoaib Akhtar’s swansong appearance

April 14th, 2011 - 2:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Shoaib Akhtar Karachi, April 14(ANI): The Pakistan cricket team management is against the idea of giving a farewell match to legendary pacer Shoaib Akhtar, who retired during the ICC World Cup 2011 last month.

Akhtar was denied an ideal situation before retiring from international cricket, when he was not given a chance to play his swansong against India in the World Cup semifinal match on March 30.

Reports suggest that Akhtar is making efforts to get a ‘farewell match’, most probably during the upcoming tour of West Indies.

Well-placed sources in the Pakistan team, however, said the team management would resist any move to bring Akhtar back in the national squad to give him an opportunity for a swansong appearance in the near future.

“He (Akhtar) is far from fit to play international cricket. And the fact that another big reason why Pakistan opted against playing him in their key World Cup games, including the semifinal against India was his poor behaviour, makes it almost impossible for the bowler to make a return even for one final match,” The News quoted a source, as saying.

Akhtar not only conceded 28 runs in a single over in the World Cup league match against New Zealand on March 8, he also had a heated argument with Kamran Akmal after the wicketkeeper dropped catches off his bowling during the match, leading to a tense atmosphere in the dressing room.

According to a player who witnessed the episode that took place between Akhtar and Akmal, it all began when the pacer shot four pointless overthrows over the stumper’s head.

“What’s the matter with you,” Akmal was heard asking Akhtar, who got angrier and decided to kick Akmal during the drinks break, an act which according to the player “took everyone by surprise”.

“He (Akhtar) kept abusing Akmal though out the match and ever afterwards, forcing [captain Shahid] Afridi to report him to the team management. For Akhtar, it turned out to be the last straw,” said the player on the condition of anonymity.

According to sources, the incident turned out to be the final nail in Akhtar’s World Cup coffin.

“It was decided by the team management that there would be no room for the unfit and ill-tempered bowler in the line-up any more,” said a source.

When Akhtar learnt about the decision, he responded by announcing his retirement, but even though he attracted a lot of sympathy from various quarters, the pacer was unable to regain a place in the playing eleven during the rest of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.

“The team management believes that after what happened during the World Cup, if Akhtar is given a farewell match then it would send all the wrong signals to the players,” said a source, adding, “It will be a compromise on discipline and nobody in the team management wants that to happen.” (ANI)

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