COLOMBO (AFP) - Pakistan's maverick paceman Shoaib Akhtar, whose colourful career has been a heady mix of on-field brilliance and off-field controversy, will quit international cricket after the World Cup. Akhtar made up his mind after Pakistan's 110-run defeat against New Zealand, in which he went for 70 runs in his nine overs. "I have decided to retire. Mentally I wanted to go on forever but I have decided to make way for the youngsters," said Shoaib. "I have no regrets. I made lots of friends but some people have misunderstood me. I thank all the players who played with me and against me. It was an honour to have played with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. I never imagined I would play for Pakistan. It was my greatest moment. "Pakistan's last match in this World Cup will also be my last. I hope that will be the final on April 2." After his mauling against New Zealand, Akhtar was rested for the match against Zimbabwe and was thought to be an unlikely starter for Saturday's last Group A match against Australia. Akhtar 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. Pakistan squad members hugged him in the dressing room on Thursday before captain Shahid Afridi embraced him as the players entered the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for practice. "I want to be remembered as an honest and patriotic player who never trod a wrong path," said Akhtar. Akhtar, known as the Rawalpindi Express during his tearaway days as one of Test cricket's most feared if unpredictable talents, once cracked the 100mph barrier at the 2003 World Cup. At this World Cup, which was always likely to be his swansong, he looked neat and tidy with figures of 0-10 and 2-42 against Kenya and Sri Lanka respectively. His career will always be remembered for a series of fitness problems, discipline violations as well as a doping offence that put the brakes on achieving his true potential. Most recently he was fined $2,000 for breaching discipline after the defeat to New Zealand. Akhtar and the now banned M 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 ODIs after he hit Asif with a bat two days before the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa. In 2008 he was banned for five years after publicly criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board following his exclusion from the list of centrally contracted players. The ban was reduced to 18 months by a tribunal, which levied a fine of 7.0 million Pakistani rupees ($105,000 at the time). His appeal against the ban is still pending. Akhtar's last delivery against New Zealand -- which may prove his final one at international level if he doesn't get another chance at the World Cup -- was hit for six by Ross Taylor. Career timeline 1996 Removed from the team for the Sahara Cup against India in Canada on grounds of indiscipline. 1997 Akhtar makes his Test debut against the West Indies in November at his home ground in Rawalpindi, taking two wickets. February 1999 Akhtar dismisses Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries in the Calcutta Test, which Pakistan win to lift the Asian Test championship. Earns nickname of 'Rawalpindi Express December 1999 Akhtar's action called for the first time, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) allows him to carry as only his bouncer causes concerns. March 2000 Banned for one ODI and fined for reaching team hotel late in Pakistan 2001 Akhtar's action called for second time after taking five wickets in New Zealand. November 2001 Action called for third time in Sharjah, after which Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) carries out examination at University of Western Australia which concludes his action is result of "unique physical characteristics" which form basis of him being cleared to continue. November 2002 Reprimanded for ball-tampering and banned for one ODI after throwing water bottle at a spectator in Zimbabwe. May 2003 Banned for two ODIs and fined 75 percent of match fee for ball-tampering during a tri-series in Sri Lanka March 2003 Akhtar bowled at 100mph in Pakistan's match against England at Cape Town, becoming the first bowler in the history of the game to break the 100mph barrier. October 2003 Banned for one Test and two ODIs for abusing Paul Adams in the first Test against South Africa, after taking eight wickets in the match to help Pakistan win. In second Test against New Zealand, helps Pakistan win with seven-wicket burst (11 in the match). March 2004 Akhtar accused of feigning injury after Pakistan lost Test series to archrivals India 2-1. October 2006 Akhtar and Asif test positive for banned steroid nandrolone. Akhtar banned for two years and Asif for one year, bans which were lifted on appeal. September 2007 Akhtar hits Asif with a bat, two days before the World T20 in South Africa. A month later the PCB fine and ban him for 13 one-day matches January 2008 Excluded from list of central contracts. A fuming Akhtar criticises the PCB. A disciplinary committee bans him for five years. Punishment reduced to 18 months on appeal, but fine imposed May 2009 Dropped from World Twenty20 squad. January 2011 Selected in Pakistan's World Cup squad, despite coach Waqar Younis saying he is not 100 percent fit. March 2011 Akhtar announces he will retire after the World Cup