Home > Features >

Shoaib Akhtar has done what Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen and Dilip Kumar did earlier; and he has committed no crime!

Social media has been buzzing with reactions after Shoaib Akhtar married a 20-year old girl © Getty Images & Yogen Shah
Social media has been buzzing with reactions after Shoaib Akhtar married a 20-year old girl © Getty Images & Yogen Shah

Shoaib Akhtar’s recent wedding to a 20-year old has, for whatever reason, taken the cricket fraternity by storm. A confused Abhishek Mukherjee tries to fathom why.

Shoaib Akhtar has got married. Worse, he has got married to a 20-year old. Worse, it was an arranged marriage. He is, without a doubt, the first person to do so in the history of mankind. As a result of this, cricket fans all over social media have come out with the wittiest of tweets.

This is what things are supposed to be like. Making fun of people getting married to a woman of age with her consent is something to be made fun of. That is what fans should be made of: Angelo Mathews and his men clinching a historical series never trended on social media, and the same fate had befallen on the rearguard action by Moeen Ali and James Anderson.

But this is what it’s all about. This is what social media is supposed to be about. The mind races back to the day when Sachin Tendulkar had to turn down a staggering amount from BBC: He did not want his marriage to be public matter. And even in those days, few bothered about who Anjali Mehta was, or what sporting credentials her father had: all they were concerned about was the age difference: “Do you know Anjali is older than Sachin?”

In a world where crime against women (or cancer, of food problems in third-world countries) is solved by clicking “Like” and “Share” and “Retweet”, this is definitely what the reaction was supposed to be like. Shoaib Akhtar has been trending on social media more than any cricketer today.

Poor Shoaib. Despite being (officially) the first bowler to cross the 100-mile barrier and retiring with phenomenal career statistics (178 Test wickets at 25.69 and a strike rate of 45.7 and 247 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) wickets at 24.97 and a strike rate of 31.4), despite remaining unscathed in the company of men who have often been touted as potential match-fixers, Shoaib is remembered more for his clashes.

It’s time we realise that cricketers, current or former, are human beings as well. They are entitled to normal lives the way all of us are. Marrying a 20-year old woman, though unusual, is not immoral or illegal. Woody Allen had married Soon Yi-Previn (which, contrary to popular beliefs, is a perfectly legal marriage), 35 years younger to him; Oona O’Neill was 36 years younger to Charlie Chaplin; and closer to home, Dilip Kumar is 22 years older than Saira Banu.

Almost none of these have led to serious scandals (barring Allen’s, which had more to do with ignorance than other aspects). But then, film personalities are (for whatever reason) entitled to some sort of license in these aspects. Cricketers, apparently, are supposed to be demigods, above such atrocities (!), as a lot of people would try to convince others. That is why we tend to remember the name of Virat Kohli’s girlfriend than his batting average!

Come on, fans. Give these men a break. Please.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Photos

Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare

Videos

Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

Australia’s losses to minnows in limited-overs cricket

India tour of England 2014: Who is Jason Roy?

Zimbabwe’s 12 most memorable victories in international cricket

Zimbabwe vs Australia, 4th ODI: Highlights

Elton Chigumbura-Prosper Utseya partnership takes Zimbabwe to historic win over Australia

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

Sourav Ganguly: England have mental block playing spinners

BCCI official: Tough for board to host Annual General Meeting this month

Javed Miandad, Abdul Qadir question mindset of Pakistan players

Aditya Verma: Happy with Supreme Court’s decision not to reinstate N Srinivasan as BCCI president

Misbah-ul-Haq shouldn’t lead Pakistan any more, feel former players

Myth busting – Ranji, CB Fry, Sussex and the fertile mind of Neville Cardus

Duncan Fletcher’s heroics and Zimbabwe’s first win over Australia

Archie MacLaren’s amateurs fell Warwick Armstrong’s mighty Australians in one of cricket’s greatest fairytales

David Bairstow: A champion claimed by depression

Should Michael Clarke cut down on playing time ahead of ICC World Cup 2015?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

668 Posts | 6 Fans

Yuvraj Singh's ton against MCC

Revealed: Celebs you might see in Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss 8

Sourav Ganguly: England have mental block playing spinners

9 blood cancer signs and symptoms you should know

India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership

Motorola Moto G successor will also be called Moto G, leaked photo from Flipkart warehouse suggests

NGOs pursue education for all

BCCI official: Tough for board to host Annual General Meeting this month

Prime Minister Narendra Modi credits Japan with modernising India

Shah Rukh Khan to start shooting for Fan and Raees next year!

Sony SmartWatch 3 and SmartBand Talk leaked ahead of September 4 launch

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here