Wasim Akram, an once in a life-time cricketer, turned 54 on Wednesday in one most distressing situation the world is covered with. Akram was the greatest left-handed fast bowler to have graced the game. He could swing the ball both ways with ease and went on to be called the ‘sultan of swing’.
Akram was born on this day in 1966 to a Punjabi Muslim family in Lahore. His father was originally from Amritsar before they shifted to Kamonki in Pakistan during the time of partition. As a kid, Akram had an obsession to play table tennis, but his grandfather followed cricket passionately and introduced him to the sport.
Akram caught the attention of international selectors while playing for local club cricket. He, then, made his first-class debut and maiden international appearances in a span of three months, besides going on to scale big heights in international cricket.
Wasim Akram: As a player
Espncricinfo has described Wasim Akram as a ‘dream’. He was a kind of player, many would want to become. He was quick, could swing the ball both ways, and all the qualities which could make a fast bowler ‘great’.
Akram was the first bowler to hit the 500-wicket mark in the 2003 World Cup and was ranked above Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath, Waqar Younis, Joel Garner and Muttiah Murlitharan by Wisden.
After making his ODI debut in 1984, Akram hogged the limelight in the third ODI against Australia, where he picked up a five-wicket haul in the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship. In Tests, it was only his second match, where he went on to pick up 10 wickets.
By 1992 World Cup, Akram had already rose to fame. He had picked up five-wicket hauls in both the formats on regular basis besides picking up hat-trick against the West Indies in the 1989-90 Champions Trophy. The prolific fast bowler continued to rise up to the ranks and become one of the greatest fast bowlers to have played the game. Before his retirement, he was dropped from the Sharjah Cup in 2003, and did not get a farewell match.
Wasim Akram: What is he up to now?
Post retirement, Wasim Akram continues to work as a commentator and an expert for official broadcasters. He has also taken up coaching assignments in the IPL and PSL. Akram has been quite active on his social media accounts as well.
Wasim Akram: Lesser known facts
Pakistan great Javed Miandad was the first to spot Wasim Akram at the age of 18. His debut in first-class cricket came against an international team — New Zealand — when he played for Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan’s (BCCP) Patrons XI in Rawilpindi 1984. Akram, however, was unaware that he will be paid for playing the match.
Akram retired with four hat-tricks in international cricket — two in ODIs, two in Tests. He was the first to pick up 500 ODI wickets and ninth highest in the history of Tests. Akram had the most wickets for a left-hander. His unbeaten 257 against Zimbabwe was recorded the highest score for No.8 batsman in the longest format.