Pakistan’s maverick paceman Shoaib Akhtar, whose colorful career has been a heady mix of on-field brilliance and off-field controversy, will quit international cricket after the World Cup.
Akhtar made up his mind after Pakistan’s 110-run defeat against New Zealand, in which he went for 70 runs in his nine overs.
“I have decided to retire. Mentally I wanted to go on forever but I have decided to make way for the youngsters,” the 35-year-old said yesterday.
“I have no regrets. I made lots of friends but some people have misunderstood me. I thank all the players who played with me and against me,” Akhtar said.
“It was an honor to have played with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. I never imagined I would play for Pakistan. It was my greatest moment,” he said. “Pakistan’s last match in this World Cup will also be my last. I hope that will be the final on April 2.”
Akhtar, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express during his tearaway days as one of Test cricket’s most feared if unpredictable talents, once cracked the 100mph (160.9kph) barrier at the 2003 World Cup.
The recent of his many misdemeanors came when he was fined US$2,000 after an on-field spat with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal during the New Zealand match.