(1975-)(say: SHOW-ab ack-TARR)
One of the fastest and most feared bowlers in world cricket at the present time. Holds the record for the fastest delivery since Jeff Thompson at 159.5 kmh-1. Shoaib has cast off injury problems and action doubts (many people believed he was throwing the ball rather than bowling it1) to lead Pakistan's bowling attack. With bowling greats Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis approaching their mid-30's, Shoaib has the opportunity to make his name as a Pakistani legend in the upcoming 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Shoaib Akhtar was born in Rawalpindi and only really got interested in cricket when he saw current Pakistani captain Waqar Younis bowl his terrifying sandshoe-crushing yorkers. Ever since then the "Rawalpindi Express" began his rise to the top, destroying the confidence of batsmen world-wide. Shoaib's career has already some tough patches with the throwing claims and a chronic back injury in 2000. This, however, did not dishearten Shoaib, quote from "The Cricketer", December 2000:

"God made me a supreme athlete. I cannot compromise that. I have a mission to cross the 100 mph barrier. God gave me that mission. I will break the barrier forever. People say I'll never be the same again, but that's rubbish. I'll prove how good I am. If I can burn brightly for a short time, perhaps 10 years, that will be enough. I don't want to save myself for an extra five years of being ordinary. I want to set records that will never be broken. I want to leave cricket like a king. Pride is important to me. I will only play if I can do so with pride. Would you ask Michael Johnson to run a marathon? He has the muscles for sprinting, it's the same for me. God made me a fast bowler."

Recently Shoaib has won the player of the series in an off-season tournament in Australia where he clearly out bowled his rival and friend, Australia's Brett Lee.


1. In cricket, the bowler must bowl the ball with a straight arm, if the angle of the elbow changes during delivery then it is a no-ball (illegal delivery). Shoaib spent time at UWA in Perth with the great Dennis Lillee rectifying this problem.


Many people don't understand how fast this man bowls. I have had the pleasure of seeing Shoaib bowl at the WACA Ground in Perth and you cannot actually see the ball when you are standing behind the net. Batsmen who voluntarily face up against him either need their heads checked or have a death wish.

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