“Controversially Yours”: More marketing than malice

September 24, 2011

Never far from controversy in his playing days, Shoaib Akhtar has kicked up quite a storm in India with his autobiography “Controversially Yours”, questioning the integrity of most players he came across.

And one of them happens to be India’s favourite son Sachin Tendulkar, owner of virtually all batting records worth owning but still not a match-winner in Shoaib’s book.

Also, the “Rawalpindi Express” claims Tendulkar, at one stage, was mortally scared of his raw pace.

Much to his delight, the Indian media seem to have swallowed the bait.

They have reacted with baffled fury, wondering how the erratic speedster can point an accusing finger at someone like Tendulkar, whose integrity remains beyond doubt even after two decades in international cricket.

Cricket is often called religion in an otherwise secular India and Tendulkar is its presiding deity.

Even the local media treat him like the sacred cow, completely untouchable. With his harsh views of statistically the greatest batsman ever, Shoaib has clearly touched a raw nerve in India.

Probably this is what Shoaib, and his publishers, intended to achieve. After such a tumultuous release, they would be surprised if the copies of the book do not fly off shelves across India.

It does not take an expert to tell us that much of the vitriol in Shoaib’s autobiography “Controversially Yours” is adulterated.

In fact, it’s more marketing than malice.

In this interview to CNN-IBN, Shoaib does a U-turn as spectacular as his albatross-like celebration after taking a wicket.

“…he is the greatest among all of them. World cricket needs to be thankful to Sachin Tendulkar… Cricket needs to be thankful to great Sachin to have played this game,” Shoaib says.

There seems a method in it.

Australian Adam Gilchrist tried something similar in his 2008 autobiography “True Colours”.

Gilchrist questioned Tendulkar’s integrity in the “Monkeygate” affair, prompting many Indians to order a copy of the book before he called the Indian cricketer to clarify the comments.

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