Wasim Akram

Last updated

Wasim Akram
Wasim-akram-gesf-2018-7878.jpg
Akram in 2018
Personal information
Full nameWasim Akram
Born (1966-06-03) 3 June 1966 (age 55)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
NicknameSultan of Swing (along with Waqar Younis)
Height192 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Batting Left-handed
BowlingLeft-arm fast
Role Bowling all-rounder
RelationsShaniera Akram (wife)
International information
National side
Test debut(cap  102)25 January 1985 v  New Zealand
Last Test9 January 2002 v  Bangladesh
ODI debut(cap  53)23 November 1984 v  New Zealand
Last ODI4 March 2003 v  Zimbabwe
ODI shirt no.3
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
1984–1986 Pakistan Automobiles Corporation
1985–1987, 1997–1998, 2000–2001 Lahore
1988–1998 Lancashire
1992–2003 PIA
2003 Hampshire
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches104356257594
Runs scored2,8983,7177,1616,993
Batting average 22.6416.5222.7318.90
100s/50s3/70/67/240/17
Top score257* 86257* 89*
Balls bowled22,62718,18650,27829,719
Wickets 4145021,042881
Bowling average 23.6223.5221.6421.91
5 wickets in innings 2567012
10 wickets in match50160
Best bowling7/1195/158/305/11
Catches/stumpings 44/–88/–97/–147/–
Source: CricInfo, 4 April 2012

Wasim Akram (born 3 June 1966) is a Pakistani cricket commentator, coach, and former cricketer and captain of the Pakistan national cricket team. A left-arm fast bowler who could bowl with significant pace, he has represented Pakistan in Test cricket and One Day International (ODI) matches. In October 2013, Wasim Akram was the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack . [1] [2] [3] [4]

Contents

Akram is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of cricket. [5] [6] [7] He holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket, with 881, and he is second only to Sri Lankan off-spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of ODI wickets, with 502 in total. He is considered to be one of the founders, and perhaps the finest exponent of, reverse swing bowling. [8] [9] [10] He is often referred to as the "Sultan of Swing". [11] [12] [13] [14]

He was the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in ODI cricket during the 2003 World Cup. In 2002, Wisden released its only list of best players of all time. Wasim was ranked as the best bowler in ODI of all time, with a rating of 1223.5, ahead of Allan Donald, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath and Muralitharan. [15] Wasim took 23 four-wicket hauls in 356 ODI matches played. [8] On 30 September 2009, Akram was one of five new members inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. [16] [17] He was the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders. [18] However, he took a break from the position for IPL 6, citing a need to spend more time with family in Karachi, [19] and he took a further break from IPL 2017; and was replaced by Lakshmipathy Balaji.

He was working as director and bowling coach of Islamabad United in Pakistan Super League, until he left to join Multan Sultans in August 2017. [20] In October 2018, he was named in the Pakistan Cricket Board's seven-member advisory cricket committee. [21] In November 2018, he joined PSL franchise, Karachi Kings, as a President. [22]

The Government of Pakistan awarded him the Hilal-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 for his life time achievements In field of Cricket. [23]

Early and personal life

Wasim Akram was born on 3 June 1966 to a Punjabi Muslim Arain family in Lahore. [24] [25] Akram's father, Chaudhary Muhammed Akram, was originally from a village near Amritsar, who moved to Kamonki, in the Pakistani Punjab after the partition of India in 1947. [26] [27] He was educated at Government Islamia College, Civil Lines, Lahore.[ citation needed ]

At the age of 30, Akram was diagnosed with diabetes. "I remember what a shock it was because I was a healthy sportsman with no history of diabetes in my family, so I didn't expect it at all. It seemed strange that it happened to me when I was 30, but it was a very stressful time and doctors said that can trigger it." [28] Since then he has sought to be involved in various awareness campaigns for diabetes. [29]

Akram married Huma Mufti in 1995. [30] They had two sons from their marriage of 14 years: Tahmoor (born 1996) and Akbar (born 2000). [31] Huma died of multiple organ failure at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India, on 25 October 2009. [32]

On 7 July 2013, it was reported that Akram had become engaged to an Australian woman, Shaniera Thompson, whom he had met while on a visit to Melbourne in 2011. [33] Akram married Shaniera on 12 August 2013, saying he has started a new life on a happy note. He was quoted as saying: "I married Shaniera in Lahore in a simple ceremony, and this is the start of a new life for me, my wife, and for my kids."

He moved from Lahore to Karachi with his wife and children. [34] On 3 September 2014, the couple tweeted that they were expecting their first baby—the third child of the Akram family. [35] On 27 December 2014, Shaniera gave birth to a baby girl, Aiyla Sabeen Rose Akram, in Melbourne.

Domestic career

In 1988, Akram signed for Lancashire County Cricket Club in England. From 1988 to 1998, he opened their bowling attack in their ECB Trophy, Benson and Hedges Cup, and National League tournaments. He was a favourite of the local British fans, who used to sing a song called "Wasim for England" at Lancashire's matches. In 1998, with Akram as captain, Lancashire won the ECB Trophy and Axa League and finished second in the championship tournament despite losing only five matches in all competitions throughout the season. [36]

International career

Test cricket

Akram made his Test cricket debut for Pakistan against New Zealand in 1985, [37] and in his second Test match, he claimed 10 wickets. [38] A few weeks prior to his selection into the Pakistan team, he was an unknown club cricketer who had failed to make it even to his college team. He came to the trials at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in Pakistan, but for the first two days he did not get a chance to bowl. On the third day, he got a chance; his performance convincing Javed Miandad to insist upon his inclusion in the national team. [39] Akram was hence given an opportunity to play for Pakistan, without any significant domestic experience.

Akram's rise in international cricket was rapid during the late 1980s. He was a part of the Pakistan team that toured the West Indies in 1988. However, a groin injury impeded his career in the late 1980s. Following two surgeries, he re-emerged in the 1990s as a fast bowler who focused more on swing and accurate bowling. [40]

Wasim Akram is currently the highest wicket taker for Pakistan in test cricket with 414 wickets. [41]

One Day International

Akram started his ODI career against New Zealand in Pakistan in 1984 under the captaincy of Zaheer Abbas. [42] He rose to prominence by taking five wickets in his 3rd ODI against Australia in the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship. His wickets included those of Kepler Wessels, Dean Jones, and captain Allan Border. Wasim Akram is currently the highest wicket taker for Pakistan in One Day International cricket [43]

Early days

In the 1984–85 Rothmans Four-Nations Cup and the 1985–86 Rothmans Sharjah Cup, Akram took five wickets with a run rate of less than 3.50. The 1985–1986 Austral-Asia Cup involved Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and was played in Sharjah, UAE. Akram, with the help of Abdul Qadir, bowled out New Zealand's batting line-up for 64 in the second semi-final of the cup. Pakistan won that game with more than 27 overs to spare, obtaining one of the biggest wins in Pakistani history. In the final against India, he and Imran Khan shared five wickets. Akram's wickets included Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri.

In the 1987 Cricket World Cup held for the 1st time in South Asia, Akram struggled on Pakistani pitches; he managed only 7 wickets throughout, with an average of over 40 runs per wicket across all 7 matches. Akram played West Indies, Sri Lanka and England twice. All group matches were played in Pakistan.

In the 1988–89 Benson and Hedges World Series, Akram managed figures of 4 for 25 against Australia. [44]

Emergence

Akram took his hundredth wicket at Sharjah during the 1989–1990 Champions Trophy, the 2nd Match against West Indies. His 100th wicket was that of Curtly Ambrose. In that match, he took a five-wicket haul for the second time in his career. [45] In the same match, Akram took his first hat-trick against West Indies. All three batsman were bowled out. [45] [46] [47] On 4 May 1990 in Sharjah, Akram took his second ODI hat-trick against Australia. All three batsmen were bowled this time as well. [46] [48]

His best years in the late 1980s were from 1986–1989, during which time he took 100 wickets at 22.71 runs per wicket, and his economy rate was less than 3.9 runs per over, with a total of four 4-wicket hauls. His first two hauls against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh came in Sri Lanka in 1986. [49]

Up until December 1991, Akram took 143 wickets in 107 matches, with an average of almost 24 and an economy rate of 3.84. [40]

World's best

Wasim Akram's results in international matches [50]
 MatchesWonLostDrawnTiedNo result
Test [51] 1044127360
ODI [52] 35619914566

Akram was a significant figure in the 1992 Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand when Pakistan won the tournament. In the final, against England, his innings of 33 runs off 19 balls pushed Pakistan to a score of 249 runs for 6 wickets. Akram then took the wicket of Ian Botham early on during the English batting innings; and, when brought back into the bowling attack later on, with the ball reverse swinging, he produced a spell of bowling which led to Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis being bowled in successive deliveries in one over. His performances earned him the Man of the Match award for the final. [53] [54] In 1993, Akram took two consecutive 4-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, in which 7 out of 8 wickets were either LBW or bowled. [55]

In the 1992–1993 Total International Series in South Africa (involving Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa), he took 5 wickets against South Africa and got his 200th wicket in his 143rd match. [56] [57] [58] Akram took 46 wickets in calendar year 1993, his best year ever in ODIs. His average was less than 19, with an economy rate of less than 3.8 runs per over. He took six 4-wicket hauls in 1993, the most by him in any year. [58] In the 1996 Cricket World Cup, Akram missed the quarterfinal match against India which Pakistan lost and went out of the World Cup. Wasim's great career was often tainted by controversy, not least in the Caribbean in April 1993, his maiden tour as Pakistan's captain. During the team's stop-over in Grenada, he was arrested along with three teammates—Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed—and two female British tourists; he was charged with possession of marijuana. [59] Between 1994 and 1996, he took 84 wickets in 39 matches. [58]

From January 1992 to December 1997, Akram played 131 matches and took 198 wickets at an average of 21.86, with 14 4-wicket hauls in ODIs.

Late career

In 1999, he led Pakistan to the finals of the World Cup where they capitulated and were defeated by Australia in the final by eight wickets with almost 30 overs to spare. [60] This was the start of the match-fixing controversies, as critics believed Akram had set up the match for Australia. However, none of the allegations could be proved. [61] [62]

He was Pakistan's best bowler in the 2003 Cricket World Cup, taking 12 wickets in 6 matches. [63] However, Pakistan failed to reach the super six of the tournament, and Akram was one of the eight players to be sacked by the Pakistan Cricket Board as a result. [64] [65]

Records

Akram won 17 Man-of-the-Match awards in 104 Tests. He took four hat-tricks in international cricket—two in ODIs [45] [48] and two in Tests. As a result, he shares the record for most international hat-tricks with Lasith Malinga. [66] [67] He finished with 22 Man-of-the-Match awards in ODIs. In 199 ODI match wins, he took 326 wickets at under 19 apiece with a run rate of 3.70 and took 18 four-wicket hauls. [40] His 257 not-out against Zimbabwe in 1996 is the highest innings by a number-8 batsman in Tests. He hit 12 sixes in that game, and it stands to this day as the record for the most sixes by any player in a single Test innings. [68] [69]

Prior to his retirement, he was one of eight senior players dropped for the Sharjah Cup in April 2003, and was then omitted from the Pakistan squad for the subsequent Bank Alfalah Cup triangular series. [70] Due to his omission from the team, he did not participate in a farewell match. Akram fulfilled his contract play for Hampshire until the end of the English season. [71]

Post retirement

Media career

Since retiring from cricket, Akram has worked and taken up commentary for television networks and can currently be seen as a sports commentator for ESPN Star Sports and ARY Digital among others. He did commentary on a variety of sporting tournaments including the 2009 Women's Cricket World Cup in Australia, the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 in England, the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, and the 2011 ICC World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Wasim Akram during IPL, 2015 Wasim Akram 1.jpg
Wasim Akram during IPL, 2015

Coaching career

In 2010, Akram was appointed the bowling coach consultant of Kolkata Knight Riders, the Indian Premier League team for Kolkata. Sourav Ganguly was always keen to have Akram as the bowling coach for India, during the former's stint as Indian captain. Although this never happened, his dreams were realised to some extent, when Akram was appointed as the bowling coach cum mentor for the franchise. [72] Akram has thus been playing a vital role in the grooming of Indian pacers like Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, who owe their success in international cricket a lot to the bowling legend. While working for the Kolkata Knight Riders, he was also responsible for the signing of Pakistani domestic left-arm fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan. [73] Akram has also been coaching in Pakistan fast bowling camps, his most notable discovery being the teenage Pakistani bowlers Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan. Akram has also worked as director and bowling coach of PSL franchise Islamabad United during 2016 and 2017 season. [74] He has also worked with Multan Sultans as director and bowling coach. He is currently chairman and bowling coach of Karachi Kings. [74]

Playing style and legacy

Over my 15 or 16 years of playing international cricket in Tests and One Day Internationals, Wasim Akram is definitely the most outstanding bowler I've ever faced.

– Former West Indies batsman Brian Lara. [75]

During his professional career he bowled with genuine speed and hostility. Akram was a man possessed of accurate control of line and length, accompanied by seam and swing bowling skills, extended to both inswingers and outswingers. With a very quick bowling action, he could bowl equally well from both sides of the wicket. His mastery of reverse swing with the cricket ball meant he was at his most dangerous towards the end of a bowling innings, and earned him the nickname of one of the "Sultans of Swing", the other one being Waqar Younis.

"The one player who really stood out for me was Wasim Akram. It was in that tournament that we realised just what a special talent he was and how much trouble he was going to give us and the rest of the world in the years to come. What a player he was."

– Former English Allrounder Ian Botham. [76]

As well as often being able to find the edge of the bat, Akram would also focus his bowling attack on the stumps and had a particularly lethal inswinging yorker. Of his 414 Test wickets, 193 were taken caught, 119 were taken leg before wicket and 102 were bowled. [77] [78] [79] In partnership with Waqar Younis, he intimidated international batsmen in the 1990s. Together Wasim and Waqar, known as "the two Ws" of the Pakistani team, were one of the most successful bowling partnerships in cricket. [80]

With the bat he was especially effective against spin bowlers. However, he liked to slog and was criticised for his lack of high scores and giving away his wicket too cheaply. In October 1996 he scored 257 runs not out, of the team's total of 553 against lowly Zimbabwe on a typical flat South Asian pitch at Sheikhupura. He also achieved good scores for the Pakistan team such as his scores of 123 and 45* against Australia to take Pakistan to victory in a low scoring match. His batting was also valuable sometimes to the Pakistan ODI side, such as in the Nehru Cup in 1989, when needing six runs and two balls to win the match, he hit the first delivery he faced, from part-time off-spinner and batting legend, Viv Richards, for a six and secured the cup.

I have always rated Wasim as the best bowler I have ever faced. I saw him at the back end of my career and I have no regret in saying this but I am glad that was in the retirement lane at that time because I think he was very special. It just wasn’t about swing or accuracy, it was about the aggression that he brought as well. He was quick as any on a given day and I just felt he had a lot offer. Like I said, I’m just glad that he came at a time that I was ready to go.

– Former West Indies batsman Viv Richards. [81]

In December 2012 after Ricky Ponting announced his retirement he said that Wasim Akram and Curtly Ambrose were the toughest bowlers he had faced [82] "Akram for the exact opposite, you could get a few runs off him, but you just knew there was an unplayable ball around the corner, be it with an old ball or with a new ball," – Ricky Ponting. [83]

To mark 150 years of the Cricketers' Almanack, Wisden named him in an all-time Test World XI. [84]

Beyond cricket

Book

He co-wrote his autobiography Wasim (1998) with the British sports journalist Patrick Murphy.

Modelling

Akram was a model at the Pantene Bridal Couture Week 2011, which was an event of Style 360. [85] [86]

Business

In 2018, Akram joined Cricingif as a stakeholder director. [87]

Television

YearShowRoleLanguageCountry
1988Yes Sir No SirGuest Urdu Pakistan
2016The Sportsman ShowHost Urdu Pakistan
2016 The Kapil Sharma Show Guest Hindi India
2017 GEO Khelo Pakistan Host Urdu Pakistan

Award and records

Akram was awarded Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1993 for his sporting achievements. He was awarded Lux Style Award for Most Stylish Sports Person in 2003.

Controversies

In 1992, after he had been successful against the English batsmen, accusations of ball tampering began to appear in the English media, though no video evidence of foul play was ever found. Akram and Younis had been able to obtain prodigious amounts of movement from both new and old cricket balls. The skill of the reverse swing delivery was relatively unknown in England and around the cricketing world during that period.

A far larger controversy was created when critics alleged that he was involved in match fixing. An inquiry commission was set up by the Pakistan Cricket Board headed by a Pakistan high court judge, Malik Mohammad Qayyum. The judge wrote in his report that: [104]

This commission feels that all is not well here and that Wasim Akram is not above board. He has not co-operated with this Commission. It is only by giving Wasim Akram the benefit of the doubt after Ata-ur-Rehman changed his testimony in suspicious circumstances that he has not been found guilty of match-fixing. He cannot be said to be above suspicion.

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Sporting positions
Preceded by
Aamer Sohail
Pakistan Cricket Captain
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Moin Khan
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Curtly Ambrose
Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World
1992
Succeeded by
Shane Warne