Wasim Akram (Urdu: وسیم اکرم; born 3 June 1966) is a Pakistani cricket commentator, coach and former cricketer, captain of Pakistan national cricket team. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. He is also known as “Sultan of Swing” A left-arm fast bowler who could bowl with significant pace, he represented the Pakistan cricket team 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.
Wasim regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of game, and perhaps the finest of all left-arm fast bowlers, 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.
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. Wasim took 23 four-wicket hauls in 356 ODI matches played. On 30 September 2009, Akram was one of five new members inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He was the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders. However, he took a break from the position for IPL 6, citing a need to spend more time with family in Karachi, 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. In October 2018, he was named in the Pakistan Cricket Board’s seven-member advisory cricket committee. In November 2018, he joined PSL franchise, Karachi Kings, as a President.
The Government of Pakistan awarded him the Hilal-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 on his life time achievements In field of Cricket.
EARLY AND PERSONAL LIFE
Wasim Akram was born on 3 June 1966 to a Punjabi Muslim Arain family in Lahore. 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.
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.” Since then he has sought to be involved in various awareness campaigns for diabetes.
Akram married Huma Mufti in 1995. They had two sons from their marriage of 15 years: Tahmoor (born 1996) and Akbar (born 2000). Huma died of multiple organ failure at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India, on 25 October 2009.
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. 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. On 3 September 2014, the couple tweeted that they were expecting their first baby—the third child of the Akram family. On 27 December 2014, Shaniera gave birth to a baby girl, Aiyla Sabeen Rose Akram, in Melbourne.
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.
AWARDS 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.
- In his Test career, Akram took 414 wickets in 104 matches, a Pakistani record, at an average of 23.62 and scored 2,898 runs, at an average of 22.64.
- In One Day Internationals, Akram took 502 wickets in 356 appearances, at an average of 23.52 and scored 3,717 runs, at an average of 16.52.
- Akram was the first bowler in international cricket to take more than 400 wickets in both forms of the game and only Muttiah Muralitharan has since achieved this.
- Akram also held the record for the most wickets in Cricket World Cups, a total of 55 in 38 matches. Australia’s Glenn McGrath broke the record during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, ending with a final tally of 71 from 39 matches. On passing Wasim’s record, McGrath said, “Wasim Akram, to me, is one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Left-armer, swung it both ways with the new ball and he was so dangerous with the old ball. To go past him is something I will always remember. Probably the other side of the coin is that if you play long enough, you’re going to break records here and there.He is currently the fourth highest wicket taker in world cups.”
- Akram is the only bowler to have achieved four hat-tricks in international cricket, with two each in Tests and One Day Internationals. He was the third of only four bowlers to have taken two Test cricket hat-tricks, the others being Hugh Trumble, Jimmy Matthews and Stuart Broad. Akram was also the first of only five bowlers to have taken two One Day International cricket hat-tricks. Akram’s Test hat-tricks are significant, since they were taken in consecutive Test matches in the same series, a game played against Sri Lanka in the 1998-99 Asian Test Championship. Akram is also one of only two bowlers to have taken both a Test match and One Day International hat-trick, the other being Pakistan fast bowler, Mohammad Sami.
- Playing in a Test series against the West Indies at Lahore in 1990–1991, he became one of only six players to have taken four wickets in an over during a Test match. In Akram’s case, these achievement was not part of a hat-trick, the third ball he delivered to the batting opposition was a dropped catch, which allowed a single run.
- Akram has also achieved the highest score by a number eight batsman in Test cricket when he scored 257 runs not out from 363 balls against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura. The innings contained 12 sixes which is also a world record for Test cricket.
- He also has the joint-third highest number of Man of the Match awards in Test cricket, with seventeen.
- He has scored the second-highest number of runs in One Day International matches by a player who has never scored a One Day International hundred, after Misbah-ul-Haq. His highest score was 86 runs.
- He is the only Test cricketer in the world (as of Feb 2013) to take ten or more wickets thrice in a test match and still end up on the losing side.
- He holds the record for facing the most number of balls in a test match as well as in an innings as number 8 batsman (363 balls)
- First bowler to take 500 ODI wickets and still holds the record for taking the most ODI wickets as seamer (502)
- He holds the record for taking the most number of wickets in ODI history at a single ground (122, Sharjah Cricket Stadium), also the first person to grab 100+ ODI wickets at the same ground. Waqar Younis, the second person to grab 100+ ODI wickets at a single ground, also did in Sharjah. He ranks second overall with 114 wickets.
- Holds the record for taking the most number of ODI wickets as captain (158)