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Saturday, June 25, 2022

King of Swing | Legend Wasim Akram

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 Legend Wasim Akram Born June 3, 1966, Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistani cricket players are generally regarded as the greatest left-handed bowler of all time, arguably  among the very best fast bowlers ever, and an outstanding all-rounder, who helped lead Pakistan to the World Cup championship of one-day international (ODI) cricket in 1992.

Akram was born into an upper- middle class family and was brought up in the comfortable suburb of Model town. His father was a successful businessman, and Akram was sent to the Cathedral School in Lahore, where his main sporting obsession was table tennis. From age 10 he lived with his grandparents, and his grandfather, a passionate cricket follower, introduced Akram to the sport. He studied fine art at Islamia college, Lahore, but his success in local club cricket brought him to the attention of the state selectors and the international side. 

Wasim Akram was one of those rare talents, who never played first- class cricket , before making his international debut. Wasim Akram’s magical moment came when he participated in the trials conducted at the Gaddafi Stadium. Interestingly, he was a mere spectator for the first tow days and finally, got a chance to roll his arms over on the third day. Straightaway, he impressed Pakistan’s senior cricketer Javed Miandad, who then pressed for Akram’s inclusion immediately into the national team. That was the opening the legend needed. From a bloke who was not even part of competitive cricket, Akram went on to become ‘The King of Swing’. In fact, shockingly, Akram himself admitted that he did not know how to swing the ball during his early days.

wasim akram

On November 23, 1984 Wasim Akram made his international debut in the second ODI against New Zealand at Faisalabad. Soon after, he made his test debut against the same opposition at Auckland and in just his second test appearance for Pakistan, he bagged a fifer each in both innings and grabbed eyeballs. He was a regular member of the side in the late 1980s, until an injury forced him to stay away.

After multiple surgeries, Wasim Akram returned to the international circuit and the emphasis was on mastering the art of swing bowling. He played a crucial role in Pakistan’s success at the 1992 World Cup, while he also led them to the final, seven years later. Alongside Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram formed a fearsome partnership and at a stage, the duo were literally unplayable.

Wasim Akram scaled mountains quite easily with loads of wickets and even hat-tricks. The fact that he would go through the defense of batsmen at will spoke volumes of his ability to trouble the batsman, both off the pitch and with movement in the air. During  the 2003 World Cup, Akram became the first man on the planet to record 500 wickets in the 50-over format. Eventually, he finished his career as Pakistan’s top wicket-taker in both tests and ODI’s with 502 wickets until Muttiah Muralitharan  overtook him to push him to the second spot.

Batting Statistics Test ODI                             Bowling Statistics Test ODI

Test ODI Test ODI
Mat 104 356 Mat 104 356
Inn 147 280 Inn 181 357
Runs 2898 3717 Balls 22627 18186
Avg 22.6 16.52 Runs 9779 11812
SR 53.78 88.33 Wkt 414 502
HS 257 86 BBI 119/7 15/5
NO 19 55 BBM 110/11 15/5
100s 3 Eco 2.59 3.9
50s 7 6 Avg 23.62 23.53
4s 324 247 5w 25 6
6s 57 121 10w 5 0

As a 35-years-old Akram announced his retirement from ODIs, after the 2003 World Cup. Akram had earlier quit Test cricket in 2002. He was a key figure in England’s domestic circuit, having represented Lancashire and later Hampshire. Impressed by his show, fans would even sing /Wasim for England,/ when he was in action for Lancashire. 

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