Wasim Akram (Urdu: وسیم اکرم; born 3 June 1966) is a former Pakistani cricketer. He is acknowledged as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. A left arm fast bowler who could bowl with significant pace who represented the Pakistan national 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.
Akram is regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of game. He holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket with 881 and is second only to Sri Lankan off-spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of ODI wickets with 502. 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, Glen McGrath and Muralitharan. Wasim has taken 23 four-wicket hauls in ODI in 356 matches he played. On 30 September 2009, Akram was one of five new members inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He is the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders. but took a break from the position for IPL 6 citing a need to spend more time with family in Karachi.
Early and personal life
Wasim Akram was born on 3 June 1966 in a Punjabi Arain family of Lahore. He was educated at Government Islamia College Civil Lines Lahore, where he played as an opening bowler and batsman. Like several other Pakistani cricketers during the 1980s, his inclusion into the national side was at the behest of a senior player in the team, which in Akram's case, was Javed Miandad.
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 actively sought to be involved in various awareness campaigns for diabetes.
Akram married Huma Mufti in 1995. They have two sons Tahmoor (born 1996) and Akbar (born 2000) from their marriage of fifteen years. 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 a 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. "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 kids. On 3 September 2014, the couple tweeted that they were expecting their first baby—third child of Akram. On 27 December 2014, Shaniera delivered a baby girl in Melbourne.
On 5 August 2015, an unidentified man opened fire at Akram's car on Karsaz Road near Karachi's National Stadium in an apparent incident of road rage, but Akram escaped unhurt.
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.
Akram made his Test cricket debut for Pakistan against New Zealand in 1985 and in his second Test match, he claimed 10 wickets. 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. 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.
One Day International
Akram started his ODI career against New Zealand in Pakistan in 1984 under the captaincy of Zaheer Abbas. He rose to prominence 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.
In the 1984–85 Rothmans Four-Nations Cup and the 1985–86 Rothmans Sharjah Cup he took five wickets with a run rate of under 3.50. The 1985–1986 Austral-Asia Cup involved Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and was played in UAE Sharjah. Akram, with the help of Abdul Qadir, bowled out New Zealand's batting line up for 64 in the second semi-final of 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 shared five wickets. Akram's wickets included Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri.
In the 1987 Cricket World Cup held for the 1st time in the sub-continent, Akram struggled on Pakistani pitches where he managed only 7 wickets with an average of over 40 in 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 he managed figures of 4–25 against Australia. He took his hundredth wicket at Sharjah in 1989–1990 Champions Trophy – 2nd Match against West Indies. His 100th wicket was of Ambrose. In that match he took a five-wickets haul for the second time in his career. In the same match he took his first hat-trick against West Indies. All three batsman were bowled. On 4 May 1990 in Sharjah, Akram took his second ODI hat-trick against |Australia. All three batsmen were bowled this time also.
His best years in late 1980s were from 1986–1989 when which he took 100 wickets at 22.71 apiece and economy rate of less than 3.9 run/over with four 4-wicket hauls. His first two hauls against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh came in Sri Lanka in 1986.
Up to December 1991 Akram took 143 wickets in 107 matches with an average of almost 24 and economy rate of 3.84.