As they say 'any publicity is good publicity' and nobody personifies this statement as fittingly as Shoaib Akhtar. Bidding adieu to cricket earlier this year, Akhtar has broken the silence with his autobiography "Controversially Yours", and as the name suggests it has created a stir already.
His comments on match-winning abilities of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, no matter which era he was referring to, has left the Indian fans livid, who want him to apologise to the batting greats. My take? Let the poor guy be! And before you start calling me names, here's why I say so...
Tendulkar and Dravid have achieved too much in their illustrious careers and with so much dignity that they hardly need to pay any heed to what Akhtar has written in his book. Akhtar, who has more controversies to his name than the times he dismissed these two Indian stalwarts, could never do justice to the talent he had. Yes, the guy was tremendously gifted and could have joined the league of great pacers of all times but his erratic ways were self-destructive. And no matter what he says and writes, the world has seen his rise and fall.
His Pakistan senior Wasim Akram, who Akhtar accused of being against him, hit back and said that it is Shoaib and only Shoaib who should be blamed for his downfall. To an extent it is true. However, I would also blame the Pakistan board for not handling its players well, ever.
On the lighter side, how many times have we actually seen Akhtar in news for good reasons? I fail to recollect. He has mastered the art of creating controversies in the last 13 years. Interestingly, he has accused the media of creating a row over his book. But then Shoaib what did you expect for a book that's named 'Controversially Yours' with you being the author? In his book, he has touched upon all those topics which he knows will evoke strong reactions, be it match-fixing, ball tampering, Pakistan dressing room infighting, etc. And then his story could not have been complete without the Indian batting legend.
As web journalists, we have an internal joke - put Sachin in the headline and the story will do well. For e.g: If nobody in India is reading your England-Windies match report, headline it like this "As Sachin recovers from injury, Windies beat England". Of course it is a joke, but it suggests a fact - Sachin sells big time in India. And the entire controversy has just helped the book have a bumper sale. People are curious to know what the pacer has to say about Sachin and Dravid.
So if not on the field, I would let the man enjoy his fifteen minutes of fame and some literary success (if I may call it). Anyway what's written need not be true but he's entitled to have an opinion, a belief and a perception. And trust me if I get to meet him, I would seriously thank him for not naming his book "'Truly' Yours", else the genre of his book would have been 'humour' and I would have died laughing even before reading the preface.