Picture of Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar

Batting style:
Right Handed bat
Bowling style:
Right-arm fast
Played for:
Pakistan, Asia XI, ICC World XI, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Chittagong Division, Durham, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Federal Areas Leopards, Islamabad Leopards, Islamabad, Khan Research Laboratories, Pakistan A, Pakistan Inv XI, Pakistan International Airlines, Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi A, Rawalpindi B, Rawalpindi Rams, Surrey, Worcestershire, Kolkata, Pakistan Under-19, Somerset, Sachin's Blasters
Roles played:
Home country:
August 13, 1975, Rawalpindi, Punjab


Towards the late 90’s, ever since the speedometer grew in prominence, tracking bowling speeds shifted from being another statistical feature to an obsession that added marvel to a seamer’s repute. It tempted a generation of speedsters to topple what was long believed to be Jeff Thomson’s standing record of a 99.9 Mph delivery. Only two candidates emerged from that rat race, Thompson’s Australian compatriot Brett Lee and before him, a Pakistani, later dubbed as ‘’The Rawalpindi Express’’, Shoaib Akhtar.

Running in like a sprinter, freckles protruding focused eyes that sought a solitary purpose of hitting the deck hard as possible to shock his batting nemesis by sheer speed, and dismantle the erect stumps, Shoaib guards into multiple pieces. It successfully startled many, as few had experienced ball movement that rapid. It either unsettled batsmen or even a fortuitous knick had enough to sneak a boundary. Old school swing was very much second-fiddle. Here was cricket’s rebel. It kept audiences glued as he had carved himself a novelty in cricket. That novelty’s zenith came earlier than many realized, at the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. Then, a mere year into his international career, Shoaib accompanied captain Wasim Akram to lead Pakistan’s bowling attack, succeeding a retired Waqar Younis. Many were still coping to comprehend an enigma, as he gained enough leverage to be among the tournament’s top wicket-takers. The novelty slowly wore off, though. It also took its toll on his body, with Shoaib’s bones and ligaments undergoing severe wear and tear. It directly affected his speeds. Brett Lee’s emergence no longer made Shoaib’s style one of-a-kind, as neither could dominate world cricket, but only rehash their fear-factors from time to time by honing variation skills getting bulk wickets over odd matches. Batsmen soon became cultured sloggers; in a game which itself transitioned more in their favour.

Large layoffs owing to injuries snubbed efforts to rebuild his career, increasing frustration. Companionship was sought with controversies, from performance-enhancing & recreational drugs, to a run-in with teammate Mohammad Asif. Under-the-hood, WADA suspicions grew which the PCB did best to protect Akhtar from. Bans were dished, appealed against and overturned. Successful returns in the IPL and limited-over Internationals reinvigorated fanfare. A larger picture, beyond speed (wickets), always felt needful. Akhtar did go onto break Thompson’s record. At what price, few would know.

Fast Facts

  • In April 2002, Shoaib Akhtar broke the record for bowling the fastest ball ever recorded at 160.9344kph breaking Jeff Thomson’s 160.45kph in 1975.
  • It made him the first bowler in cricketing history to have a delivery recorded at over 100 Mph.
  • Shoaib went 16 ODI matches without taking a wicket, joint-10 in the standings among regular bowlers. West Indian Ian Bishop tops the list with 25 wickets-less ODIs.
  • In 2008, when Shoaib bowled South African captain Greame Smith for a duck, it was the 37th instance in an ODI that he sent a batsman packing for naught.


  Matches Innings Runs NO Avg. SR 100's 50's HS
Test 46 67 544 13 10.07 41.43 0 0 47
ODI 163 84 394 40 8.95 73.23 0 0 43
T20 15 6 21 3 7.00 131.25 0 0 8*
IPL 3 1 2 0 2.00 28.57 0 0 2
  Matches Innings Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM Avg. Econ. 4w 5w 10w Extras
Test 46 82 8143 4574 178 6/11 / 25.69 3.37 10 12 2 245
ODI 163 162 7764 6169 247 6/16 / 24.97 4.76 6 4 0 478
T20 15 15 318 432 19 3/38 / 22.73 8.15 0 0 0 21
IPL 3 3 42 54 5 4/11 / 10.80 7.71 1 0 0 4
  Catches Stumpings Runouts
Test 12 0 0
ODI 20 0 6
T20 2 0 1


Pakistan Vs West Indies at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi - Nov 29, 1997
Last played:
Pakistan Vs India at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore - Karnataka - Dec 08, 2007
Pakistan Vs Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club, Harare (Salisbury) - Mar 28, 1998
Last played:
Pakistan Vs New Zealand at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Kandy - Mar 08, 2011
Pakistan Vs England at County Ground, Nevil Road, Bristol - Aug 28, 2006
Last played:
Pakistan Vs New Zealand at Seddon Park, Hamilton - Dec 28, 2010
Kolkata Vs Delhi at Eden Gardens, Kolkata (Calcutta) - May 13, 2008
Last played:
Kolkata Vs Chennai at Eden Gardens, Kolkata (Calcutta) - May 18, 2008