Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shoaib Akhtar's retired life crisis?

If you are a baller (the chap who throws the ball in cricket), who has just ran out of work after a dozen years of perpetual hormone malfunction that caused disciplinary problems, injuries and media hype-what would you do when all that has ended? You would do what Shoaib Akhtar did. 
Instead of going back to Rawalpindi and starting a bus service, you will go to India, hire an agent, get a book ghost-written and cheekily  titled "Controversially Yours" and hit the jack-pot. Better still, pick at almost everyone who made it big in cricket on both sides of the border, attack the King Khan who likes to believe he is invincible and reveal the dressing room squabbles with fellow big shots, the talented yet match-fixing colleagues in a Jerry Springer-like fashion. 

What will happen then? The gossip mongering, scandal starved Indian and Paki media will go gaga over you and the gullible English reading folks will fall prey and buy your book, out of social courtesy. And you will have nice money rolling in. Now check this out:

I like the way he candidly opines about Sachin Tendulkar. I agree Akhtar might be delusional when he believes Sachin feared him but he is right when he says that your favorite doesn't have to be my favorite. Sachin is great and perhaps someone's God but not his. And if his bookey bashing and dressing room leaks are welcomed, why not his bizarre opinions about his own colleagues and rivals? He thought so, he said it. This concept of a cricketer or actor (or just anyone) becoming so venerable that he or she is beyond critique is prevalent in South Asia and is very anti-free speech, bureaucratic and tacky. I am glad Akhter evades it. 

The market has responded to the cricketing drama. 

Akhtar goes off-limits when he justifies his own ball-tampering and alleges everyone else of doing the same along with match-fixing, which he claims to have stayed clear of. He gave out this personal detail, perhaps to balance the accusations he was levying on others and to avoid similar attacks on himself. But then he has always been erratic and this time he is making good money out of stating what many already have. He was of course not unaware of all this earlier and waited to blow the whistle after he retired. Hopefully, these very serious assertions are objective and agenda-free, and Akhtar will eventually substantiate some of these to strengthen his own case. 

There is a school in Pakistan, that disapproves of any scandalous (malicious) activity that Pakis indulge in when they go to India (other than voluntary peace-keeping missions in Kashmir of course). This group is the anti-Meera, Veena, Adnan Sami and now Shoaib Akhtar's dance steps. 

They want to protect Pakistan's ostensibly delicate honor. But Honestly, Pakistan's honor shouldn't rest on individuals, falling stars and neophytes seeking the Indian circus for show-casing their acrobatics. 

I am glad he isn't apologetic like some people expected him to be. He is the usual headstrong, irate and attention-seeking Akhtar, oblivious to the finer aspects of thorough argumentation, openly declaring his physical conquests everywhere and fussing over PCB. 

For a change, someone has taken Akhtar seriously. Now that the book is gaining publicity because of the protests against it in MumbaiDravid, Akram, Tendulkar and SRK might want to come out with more solid rebuttals than these. But then they are much bigger players and remaining mum might seem more dignified, to them and their mothers at least. 

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