Shoaib calls it a day

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar is set to bow out of international cricket at the end of the World Cup following a colourful career spanning more than 13 years

Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar has confirmed he will retire from international cricket after the ongoing World Cup on the sub-continent.

Shoaib, who is regarded by many as the fastest bowler of all time, will call time on a colourful international career once his team are eliminated from the tournament.

The 35-year-old said in a statement: "Yes, I will quit international cricket after the World Cup.

"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 April 2."

Since debuting in 1997, Shoaib has represented Pakistan in 46 Test matches, picking up 178 wickets.

The fast bowler is just three wickets short of the 250 mark in the one-day format and also has 19 scalps in 15 Twenty20 internationals.

Shoaib clocked 100mph during Pakistan's ODI match against New Zealand at Lahore in 2002, registering himself as the fastest man in contemporary cricket. However, his career has been marred with injuries and controversies.

He found himself embroiled in a doping controversy in 2006 when he tested positive for nandrolone, although his two-year suspension was later quashed.

Fitness issues forced Shoaib to miss the 2007 World Cup, while he was banned for five matches after hitting team-mate Mohammad Asif with a bat ahead of the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa.

The Pakistan Cricket Board suspended the paceman for five years in 2008 after he publicly slammed the board for excluding him from the list of centrally contracted players. However, the ban was cut to 18 months on appeal.

He then missed the 2009 World Twenty20 in England after receiving treatment for genital viral warts.

Shoaib has faced repeated questions over the legality of his bowling action and has served bans for offences including ball-tampering and throwing a bottle into the crowd.

Dubbed "the Rawalpindi Express", Shoaib got his 2011 World Cup campaign off to a strong start, grabbing two wickets in the victory against Sri Lanka.

However, he was dropped for the clash with Zimbabwe after conceding 70 runs in nine overs against New Zealand.

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