Born 13 August 1975) is a former Pakistani cricketer, who played all formats of the game for fourteen years. Akhtar is the fastest bowler ever in the history of cricket, who delivered the fastest delivery officially recorded at a top speed of 161.3km/h in a pool match against England in the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Akhtar was nicknamed as “Rawalpindi Express”, as a tribute to his hometown and fast bowling.He is the first bowler to break the 100mph barrier as well, which he did twice in his career.
Akhtar made his Test debut in November 1997 as an opening fast bowlerand played his first One Day International three months later. Akhtar has been involved in several controversies during his career, often accused of not being a team player, but was also commended for significantly impacting games in Pakistan’s favour. Akhtar was sent home during a Test match series in Australia in 2005 for alleged poor attitude. A year later, he was embroiled in a drug scandal after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance nandrolone. However, the ban imposed on him was lifted on appeal.
In September 2007, he was banned for an indefinite period for a fight with Pakistan team mate and fast bowler Mohammad Asif.On 1 April 2008, Akhtar was banned for five years for publicly criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board. In October 2008, the Lahore High Court in Pakistan suspended the five-year ban and Akhtar was selected in the 15-man squad for the Twenty20 Quadrangular Tournament in Canada. Pakistani judge Rana Bhagwandas once stated that Akhtar is a legend of Pakistan cricket. Akhtar retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup.