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Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar to retire after World Cup

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar took 178 wickets in 46 tests

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will retire from international cricket after the World Cup.

The 35-year-old, nicknamed the "Rawalpindi Express", made the announcement at a news conference in Colombo on Thursday.

Shoaib made his international debut in 1997 in a Test match against the West Indies and is regarded as one of the fastest bowlers ever to play the game.

"With this announcement it feels like it's my first death," he said.

"I have taken this decision after much thought.

"Pakistan's last match in this World Cup will also be my last. I hope that will be the final on 2 April.

"I would have loved to continue, perhaps forever, but I must make way for them youngsters to take over."

Akhtar's decision comes after Pakistan, who have already qualified for the quarter-finals, suffered a 110-run defeat against New Zealand, in which he went for 70 runs from his nine overs.

He was rested for the match against Zimbabwe on Monday and is thought to be an unlikely starter for Saturday's last Group A match against Australia.

Akhtar, who made his international debut in 1997, took 178 wickets in 46 Tests, the last of which was against India at Bangalore in 2007.

He is three wickets short of 250 in 163 one-day internationals and has taken 19 wickets in 15 Twenty20 internationals.

His career will be remembered for a series of fitness problems, discipline violations as well as a doping offence that prevented him achieving his potential.

Akhtar and the now banned Mohammad Asif failed drugs tests in 2006 and were suspended for two years and one year respectively, both of which were lifted on appeal.

Fitness problems forced him to miss the 2007 World Cup while he was fined heavily and banned for 13 one-dayers, after he hit Asif with a bat, two days before the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa.

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see also
Trial date set for Pakistan trio
17 Mar 11 |  Pakistan
Pakistan book quarter-final berth
14 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Taylor blitz sets up NZ victory
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Pakistan edge past plucky Canada
03 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Shoaib and Asif to miss World Cup
01 Mar 07 |  Pakistan
Shoaib sent home after Asif row
07 Sep 07 |  Cricket

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Reuters India World Cup starts here, says Ponting of Pakistan showdown - 1 hr ago
The News International Shoaib Akhtar made decision on right time: Afridi - 1 hr ago Jade Dernbach beats Chris Woakes to England World Cup call-up - 1 hr ago England spirit encourages Tredwell - 1 hr ago
New York Times World Cup Starts Here, Says Ponting of Pakistan Showdowm - 2 hrs ago


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