Shoaib must realize that mocking his countrymen will not build for him respect among those he believes he is entertaining
It was during the last World Cup that Shoaib Akhtar acrimoniously exited his contentious cricket career, choosing to speak to the media in Colombo without the knowledge of his management and without mincing his words. Now he has chosen to do so on a stage that is known for throwing insults: Comedy Nights with Kapil.
Which one has been more inappropriate is up for contention but while the first one was specific to cricketing issues this time he has targeted individuals.
One of his targets has been Ijaz Butt who was the chairman of PCB when Shoaib was, according to himself, unfairly sidelined from the Pakistan team in the middle of the 2011 World Cup and missed his much-desired farewell in the semi-final at Mohali.
The other targets have been Inzamam, with whom he had a contentious relationship throughout the time he played under him, and Kamran Akmal, who dropped sitters off his bowling in that tournament and who he reportedly had a physical altercation with during the drinks break in the game against New Zealand.
Though it was a light-hearted banter, the second time around with lots of laughter, clearly there was an undertone of a look-down on the individuals who Shoaib has often mistrusted.
The point is whether he should have done his stand up comedy stint in India. A country which refuses to play cricket bilaterally with us even on neutral soil. Should he have made fun of his countrymen there?
From what was seen you could see the gleam in the eyes of Kapil and Sidhu who could hardly hold back the joy of what they were getting on their show. The same for the audience at the venue and thereafter the millions who must be watching it in homes across India. It was the Indians laughing at us courtesy a Pakistani. That is what hit hardest. But the fact remains that a lot of what he said was true. And also, they and some others before them had done Shoaib something grossly unjust, on and off the field. It was this hurt coming out of him I felt.
Shoaib is making his way into the Indian show business industry and good luck to him for that. But he must realize that mocking his countrymen will not build for him respect among those he believes he is entertaining. No matter how much we believe that laughing at oneself and one’s national characteristics shows a big heart, we can sense when people are indirectly trying to belittle us.
Shoaib, who has given his heart and soul to Pakistan whenever he played his cricket in Pakistani colours, may just have bowled a no ball that will cost him more than he thinks.
On to another stage, this time in the heart of Pakistan. Shaharyar Khan appeared in front of the mikes at the Gaddafi Stadium and announced that for all it took, Moin Khan had been cleared of any misdemeanor in Australia and that he was not guilty of indulging in any gambling. And that the matter was now closed.
He had a point. After all no videos have emerged of any such activity and Moin could simply have been invited in for some photographs. Like I said last week an inopportune thing to do for someone in his position, and poor sense of timing, but there is nothing to prove he was doing anything detrimental to the team.
Appropriate words therefore from the chairman and a quite right stance, something I had said last week should be happening. Close the issue and get on with the more serious business of the World Cup.
What was big of the chairman was that he chose to address the media himself, and clearly informed that he had taken this responsibility after Moin asked him to do the last rites of this controversy.
In doing so he has shielded the former Pakistan captain from the possibility of a new controversy should he have said anything untoward while answering the questions from the media. He has also shown who is boss and who is the man in control.