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The Lone Rangers

Graham Gooch, Andrew Symonds, Shoaib Akhtar, Kevin Pietersen – the list of maverick cricket players who have rebelled against the system and subsequently fallen to brutal circumstances, is endless. Some have proverbially risen from the ashes, as surmised by Pietersen’s re-entry into the English county system. Apparent new entrant to this otherwise-captivating club, Pakistan’s opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad, is deemed perceptive enough to overstep the mistakes of his predecessors.

Due to his exclusion from the recently announced Test and ODI squads for the upcoming Bangladesh tour, there abound whispers of brazenness, management dominance, clash of personalities and lack of discipline during the World Cup.


But how necessary is it that a sportsman be moulded into a rule-obliging, copy-pasting mix of blandness? Surely the game has revelled in having fiery entertainers such as Shane Warne, Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga and Dale Steyn.

The key is to drawing the fine line between showcasing a strong personality, yet not letting it have a detrimental effect on one’s on-crease performance.

Hot-headed Australian batsman David Warner, reportedly punched England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar three years ago. During the 2014 Pakistan-Australia series in the UAE, the press room abound with rumours that he was breathing down Michael Clarke’s neck for the captaincy. All controversies aside, he will now lead Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 8. The thorny path to redemption is a worthy one for the bold and the beautiful.


So what now lies ahead for Ahmad Shahzad? In previous years he has shown himself willing to rein in his individuality, but it is perhaps this enforced need to conform, which results in him allegedly giving a knee-jerk reaction to various coaches from time to time.

Were it not for his skull fracture, in November 2014 he looked set for a double ton against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi. Given that it is not his abundant talent that is in question and ahead lies both a statistically and financially lucrative career, in all probability he will resume his Test position sooner rather than later. Until that dawn arises, his fans will wait with bated breath for a long-term, cutting-edge and definitive innings.

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