After the storm and hype that surrounded its release, Shoaib Akhtar's 'Controversially Yours' falls short in delivering what it promised, ironically just as its subject himself did throughout his mercurial career. Perhaps unintentionally emulating Shoaib's time in cricket, the book is short, enjoyable and at times even amusing; yet it is also often inconsistent and, frustratingly, leaves one asking for more.
The story begins right at the start, with his birth in a modest household in Rawalpindi, and traces his gradual yet dramatic rise from a life of poverty to the heights of cricketing glory and success. In fact, just like one of those Bollywood movies which Shoaib is so fond of, his tale too follows a linear narrative and, despite being predictable, is engrossing and entertaining.
Unfortunately for cricket enthusiasts though, the 'hero' here is not the devastating fast bowler who holds the world record for the quickest delivery; instead, the book focuses on the numerous controversies that frequently overshadowed Shoaib's career. So while all his exploits on the field are mentioned, very often the account is all too brief and sketchy. For instance, he explains how his Test debut was delayed by an entire year due to an allegedly incorrect report from his Pakistan A team coach. However, despite it having initiated his 'undisciplined' tag and perhaps cost him a chance to feature in the 1996 World Cup, the entire episode is dealt with in just two paragraphs.
Even once his career takes off,
11:19 AM, Nov 10, 2011