New Delhi:Pakistan's preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup were thrown into turmoil on Friday after fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was recalled home for hitting fellow paceman Mohammad Asif with a bat.
The two players got into a heated argument during a training camp at Benoni on Thursday during which Shoaib struck Asif on his left thigh with a bat.
Fortunately no serious damage has been caused and according to X-Ray reports Asif has escaped only with bruises. The team management though took a serious note of the incident and asked Shoaib to return home by the first flight available.
PCB Chairman Naseem Ashraf said Shoaib could face further disciplinary action once he returned home from South Africa.
Asif escaped a serious injury but Ashraf said what had happened was disgraceful and Shoaib's actions could not be condoned at all.
Meanwhile, Shoaib told NDTV that he was "feeling very bad". "Sometimes you do things in a fit of temper. I will address a press conference and apologise for my actions."
"I'm human, I made a mistake in the heat of the moment. I request the media not to make me look like a villain," he said.
"I'm feeling bad that two minutes of temper ruined my comeback to the team. Whatever happened was not intentional, it was at the spur of the moment. It's very upsetting that I won't be playing the Twenty20 World Cup."
"It's very similar to what happened with Zidane in the Football World Cup," he added.
Controversy is nothing new to the Pakistani speedster. Just last month Shoaib was hauled up by the PCB for walking out of a national crikcet camp. He was apparently let off after threatening the board with an ICL move.
Its Shoaib's temprament that has got him into trouble most often. Last year he was accused of slapping the then Pakistan coach, late Bob Woolmer, one of several instances of his misbehaviour with the coach.
On the field too Shoaib's run hasn't been smooth. He was banned for two ODIs for ball tampering during a game in Sri Lanka in 2003. Two years later, he was sent back from the tour of Australia on grounds of indiscipline and bad attitude.
His injury breaks and attitude problems have cost him heavily in his career. He's missed a staggering 46 Tests out of the 89 Pakistan have played since his debut in 1997, missing 11 out of 15 since January 1, 2006.
He's also missed 138 one-dayers out of the 266 Pakistan have played since his one-day debut in 1998, playing just four out of the 34 ODIs since 2006.
That record is only expected to get worse in the coming times. Experts in Pakistan say this latest episode could virtually halt the Rawalpindi Express forever. So, don't be surprised if you find Shoaib joining the ICL in coming weeks.