After all that brouhaha about Shoaib Akhtar's viral genitalia, The News' Khalid Hussain informs us today that "Shoaib's fitness problems aren't just skin deep." Ho-hum. Tell us something we didn't know. If his incessant tantrums, loud-mouthed shaubda-pan, his steroid-pumping, lack of any kind of discipline, his inability to bowl even 10 overs in a one-day match and increasing inability to take wickets and his regular pulling out of critical fixtures because of one excuse or another were not enough, we now discover that he is addicted to "strong painkillers", in the absence of which he is reduced to a grovelling junkie.
“Shoaib was so desperate for a particular pain-killing injection during the tour of UAE that he almost begged a local doctor for it. The doctor, however, told him that he would risk being thrown out of UAE is he administered that injection,” said a source.
Anyone with half a mind would have rid Pakistan cricket of this pathetic loser a long, long time ago. But even more importantly, anyone with even a shred of decency would themselves have announced an end to their career and sought psychiatric help. Not our genital-wart man of course.
Apparently, Shoaib has refused to accept PCB’s decision and is planning to feature in the RBS National Twenty20 Cup getting underway in Lahore from May 25. It was announced on Saturday that he would lead Islamabad Leopards in the five-day event in spite of being advised by the PCB Medical Board to rest and get treatment for at least ten days.
His plans to feature in the RBS Cup have posed yet another headache for the PCB management. Sources close to Shoaib claimed that the pacer may make also some disclosures about an alleged plot by the team management to get him axed from the England-bound squad.
I have long maintained that, rather than letting the country down, today's Pakistani cricketers perfectly represent the Pakistani nation of today. They share three characteristics that have come to define us completely: a total lack of discipline, an over-reliance on luck, and an acute inability to foresee the consequences of our actions. Anyone seeing Shahid 'Boom Boom' Afridi batting will immediately see the similarities between it and, oh for example, the Kargil adventure.
But Shoaib 'Take Me Warts And All' Akhtar's latest shenanigans have made me think he truly is the poster-boy for what is wrong with us as a nation. Not only does he fulfil each of the characteristics outlined above, he also perfectly mirrors our penchant for feeding conspiracy theories without a shred of evidence and looking to blame others for our self-inflicted problems. It's never our fault, it's always someone out to get us since we are potentially so great. Megalomania combined with paranoia.
Of course, he intends to participate in the RBS Twenty20 not out of any love for the Islamabad Leopards or for the tournament, but only to shame the PCB (as if it needs any shaming). More eyes are bound to be glued on to his crotch than anywhere on the field (perhaps RBS should put their logo there) and I'd love to see how his teammates treat the ball he will inevitably rub there and shine with his spit. Nobody has ever accused us of being extremely rational about science, and particularly about the science of infectious diseases. If the medical reports are correct, he is also likely to further aggravate his 'condition' by playing, and just writing those words makes me wince.
Which brings me to the other way Mr. Akhtar represents Pakistan. Like our country, he has an uncanny predilection for negotiating with others by holding a gun to his own head.