Controversially Yours

Controversially Yours
- By Shoaib Akhtar

Published by:
Harper Sport (An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers India, a joint venture with The India Today Group)

Pages: 280

MRP: Rs499 (in India)


I have to say that Shoaib Akhtar was one of my favourite cricketers. The thrill of that magnificent, smooth run-up culminating with the tremendous speed of the delivery made me scour the fixtures so that I could witness him live every season and, now that he has retired, I was very keen to read his autobiography.

In collaboration with Anshu Dogra, the aptly titled Controversially Yours certainly does not disappoint and charts everything from Shoaib's earliest days to a full chapter on why and how he sustained injuries.

Indeed, an early illness and following another baby brother who died in infancy, the world may never have seen the Rawalpindi Express. His rise to prominence is well documented within these pages as are his clashes with the Pakistani authorities and certain captains.

Shoaib shows a lot of respect for his elders and family but the harsh words are reserved for the Pakistani authorities, the way he feels that they treated players which may have had a bearing on some of the team's woes and his first Test when he writes that he was not wanted in the team.

One noticeable aspect of the book is Shoaib's self-belief in his own cricketing ability and the first of the very decent selection of photographs claims "My murshid said I would be a star - and I was". At times it feels like a justification but there can be little doubt that he brought great excitement to the game.

Shoaib details his controversies which included claims of faking injuries, rape and attacking team-mates with frankness and, on the other side, his interest and knowledge of Islam is mentioned regularly throughout the book. Who knows how many further wickets he might have taken had it not been for his knee problems?

There have been mentions in reviews of certain claims against Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid - especially as this book was published in India - but, in general, there are plenty of generous references to India and its cricketers.

Above all, Shoaib's book is exciting and I would recommend anyone interested in this rarely out of the news cricketer to read it.