There is no doubt about the fact that Pakistan has produced one of the best fast bowlers in the game of cricket. In the recent past we were privileged to see legendary bowlers like Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younus. After that lot, Pakistan was fortunate to have a genuine fast bowler like Shoaib Akhtar. For any batsman in the world, he was the most dreaded fast bowler to face. Before the start of the World Cup 2011, he was hailed by the cricket commentators as one of the most interesting and a big crowd puller of the mega event. Despite being not at the peak of his physical fitness, he was still regarded by the experts of the game as a real match winner. As the World Cup progressed, he started to become the centre of attention. Then a time came and all eyes were focused on him for his selection in the semi-final against India. Former greats like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram were unanimous in their views that Pakistan must play Shoaib Akhtar even if he was not fully fit. They opined that the burst of his just five overs could turn around the match in favour of Pakistan. But the team management defied all opinions and went with their own plan of sitting out Shoaib Akhtar. Pakistan lost the semi-final and so did it lost the hope of winning the World Cup. It has been reported that the decision of the team management of not playing Shoaib Akhtar in the semi-final was largely influenced by the disciplinary action taken against him after his reported brawl with the wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal. Whereas, for the ugly incident Shoaib Akhtar had already paid the fine imposed on him by the disciplinary committee. So far we have read the one-sided story about not playing the fast bowler in the crucial match against India. Similarly, one cannot figure out the reason as to why no member of team management was present on the occasion when Shoaib Akhtar addressed the press conference all alone and announced his retirement during the World Cup. Now when the tournament is over and Shoaib Akhtar has announced his retirement, he must speak the truth behind his exclusion from the team that played the semi-final. Was he really not fit enough to bowl even five overs with speed and gusto he was once famous for? Or are the facts otherwise which deprived Pakistan of a good opportunity of beating India in India? For the benefit of the game of cricket in Pakistan, it is necessary to uncover the truth. RAFAT MAHMOOD ANSARI, Islamabad, April 7.