Wasim Akram was one of the best to have ever made it to a cricket field. Period. His performance as a bowler was something of an opera performance. It was as though his hands were the instruments and the movement of the ball was the performance. 916 wickets in all, Akram certainly never needed any numbers to justify his claim to fame. He was a master at what he did in spite of the match-fixing claims as well as the doping claims. In a nutshell, he was the perfect cricketer. Here are some facts about Wasim Akram, the King of swing since 1984.
1. The pride of Lahore:
Wasim Akram was born on the 3rd of June 1966 in Lahore, Pakistan.
2. Mr. Whippy:
Apart from the mammoth 916 wickets in a career spanning almost 2 decades, Wasim Akram is known for his whippy action. It was this action that allowed him to conceal the shine of the ball and extract the reverse swing most batsmen feared.
3. The King of swing:
Some of Wasim Akram’s most famous nicknames include: WAZ, Sultan of Swing, The Two W’s (with Waqar Younis), King of Swing
4. Double trouble:
In the 1990s, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis became the most feared bowlers in world cricket. They were the first bowlers to bring in the tactic of reverse swing. They were known as the Two W’s and struck fear into most batting line-ups.
5. The English bridesmaids:
The 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia will be remembered for many things. Apart from the colored clothing and Martin Crowe’s antics, the final saw perhaps the best of Wasim Akram. He demolished England with two unforgettable deliveries, to Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis, in the World Cup final in Melbourne in 1992, each a definition of unplayable.
6. Stirring up Sir Viv:
Sir Viv Richards is perhaps one of the best batsmen in the world, if not the best. However, even he had reason to fear the terrifying bowling skills of Wasim Akram. In an interview, he said, “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.”
7. Carnival of lust:
In a career spanning almost 20 years, Wasim Akram’s record in terms of bowling is unparalleled. He has 916 wickets in what was certainly a lustful career.
8. Kiwis run helter-skelter:
In only his second Test, he took 10 for 128 in Dunedin in 1985. He also went one better on the 1994 tour, when he took 11 for 179 in Wellington.
9. The magic of Akram:
Former England all-rounder Ian Botham once said: “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.”
10. The Zimbabwean safari:
Apart from his bowling Akram also has a splendid batting record. He smashed 257 against Zimbabwe, becoming the only batsman at the time in his batting position to smash a double century. He also smashed 12 sixes in the innings, setting the record for the most number of sixes in a Test innings.
11. Match-fixing scandal:
In 1992, the England cricket board accused Wasim Akram of ball-tampering. However, he was cleared of all charges when the jury found little or no evidence against the claim. He was also involved in an altercation with former Pakistani bowler Ata-ur-Rehman. A statement released read: “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.”
12. The unlucky charm:
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.
13. The 100-run mark:
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. His highest score was 86 runs.
14. Style 360:
Akram walked the ramp at the Pantene Bridal Couture Week 2011 which was an event of Style 360. He has also appeared on the Kapil Sharma show with his wife Shania Thompson.
15. Of Cabbages and Kings:
Wasim Akram is one of the most feared bowlers in world cricket during his time. Ian Botham and Brian Lara have both come out in praise of the former Pakistani left-arm pacer.
16. 2003 World Cup sack:
In spite of putting up a decent performance in the 2003 World Cup with the ball, Pakistan didn’t make it past the Group Stages. He was a part of the players who were sacked by the Pakistan Cricket board following the debacle.
17. Attempt on Akram’s life:
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.