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Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram is acknowledged as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, who has complete mastery over swing and seam, and sometimes move the ball bath ways in one delivery. Wasim is the finest fast bowler ever, who represented the Pakistan national cricket team in Test cricket as well as One Day Internationals.

Akram is rated by many as the best left-arm fast bowler of all time, and his career record certainly bears that out along with high regard of his contemporaries. Wasim Akram was the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in ODI cricket during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. He is considered to be one of the founders and perhaps the finest exponent of reverse swing bowling.

Born in a Punjabi Arain family in Lahore, Wasim Akram was one of those rare talents, who never played first-class cricket, before making his international debut. It was during his practice in the Under-19 nets when Javed Miandad passed by and was super impressed with his ability to move the ball at such a great speed, who then pressed for Akram’s inclusion immediately into the national team.

Wasim started his ODI career against New Zealand in 1984 at Faisalabad. He rose to prominence taking five wickets in his 3rf ODI against Australia. Akram made his Test cricket debut in 1985 and proved himself as a fine exponent of reverse swing in his second Test match by taking 10 wickets. Akram’s rise in international cricket was rapid during the late 1980s.

Following two surgeries, he re-emerged in the 1990s as a fast bowler who focused more on swing and accurate bowling. He cut his long run up to the wicket to just a few paces, but what he missed out on pace, he more than made up by his swing, seam and various things.

Akram was a key figure in the 1992 Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, when Pakistan won the tournament for the first time. He also won the Man of the Match award for his spectacular performance in the final against England. Alongside Waqar Younis, Akram formed a fearsome bowling partnership and at a stage, the duo was literally unplayable. In 1996 World Cup he missed the quarter final match against India which Pakistan lost and went out of the World Cup.

In 1992, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis came under heavy criticism from the English Media, who accused them of ball-tempering, though no video evidence of foul play was ever found. The allegations were put because both Akram and Younis had been able to obtain prestigious amount of movement from both new and old cricket ball and the skill of the reverse swing delivery was relatively unknown in England.

Wasim Akram took four hat-tricks in international cricket, two each in Test match and ODIs. His Test hat-tricks are significant, since they were taken in consecutive Test matches in the same series against Sri Lanka. In ODIs, Akram took 502 wickets in 356 appearances, at an average of 23.52 and have scored more than 3,500 runs. He finished his career as Pakistan’s top wicket-taker in both Tests and ODIs. In his Test career, Akram took 414 wickets in 104 matches – highest by any Pakistani bowler.

Though he reached the 500-wicket landmark in ODIs in the 2003 World Cup, he was among the eight players dumped after Pakistan’s miserable performance. He retired shortly after following a brief spell with Hampshire.

After his retirement, much like many former cricketers, Akram decided to voice his opinion on the game and became the prominent commentator. Wasim Akram is also serving as a bowling coach for the Kolkata Knight Riders, one of the ten Indian Premier League Franchises.