Wasim Akram, also known as the Sultan of Swing, is a former Pakistani cricketer who played for the national team.
He was born on June 3, 1966, and is widely considered as one of the greatest bowlers in history.
Akram was a left-arm fast bowler by trade, but he also batted down the order for his team and helped them win some crucial matches.
Akram was the first bowler in ODI history to take 500 wickets, and he still holds the record for most ODI wickets by a seamer.
Akram was an inexperienced club cricketer who had struggled to make it to his college team after taking trials at Gaddafi Stadium.
He only got his chance to bowl on the third day of the trials, but his success encouraged Javed Miandad to call him up to the national team despite his lack of domestic experience.
He played for Pakistan Automobiles Corporation for two years in 1984 before joining the Lahore cricket team on three occasions.
He was a member of the squad during the 1985–1986 Austral-Asia Cup, where he was instrumental in the team’s victory over arch rivals India in a tightly contested final.
On November 23, 1984, Akram made his international debut in the second ODI of the New Zealand tour of Pakistan.
He bowled four overs, making 31 runs and failing to take a wicket. Pakistan finally won the match by 5 wickets.
On January 25, 1985, he made his test debut against the same opponents, but this time as a visiting side.
New Zealand thrashed Pakistan by an innings and 99 runs in the second test of the series, with Akram taking two wickets and failing to score a run in both innings.
He took 10 wickets in the third and final test, but his side was unable to cross the finish line due to a two-wicket deficit.
Rise to Glory
He grew to fame after making his debut in 1984 under the captaincy of Zaheer Abbas, taking five wickets in his third ODI against Australia.
He only took seven wickets in the 1987 Cricket World Cup, taking over 40 runs per wicket in all seven matches.
In the 1988–89 Benson and Hedges World Series, he went 4 for 25 against Australia. Akram took his hundredth wicket against West Indies in the 1989–1990 Champions Trophy at Sharjah, and he also got a hat-trick for the second time in his career.
Pakistan and Akram were also at their best during the 1992 Cricket World Cup, which was hosted in Australia and New Zealand. The tournament was won by them. In the final, Akram hit a crucial 33 off 18 balls while still leading the bowling attack with figures of 3/49.
He was named Player of the Series and was the tournament’s top wicket-taker (18).
He took two successive 4-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka in 1993, with seven of the eight wickets being LBW or bowled. He concluded his career with 17 four-wicket hauls and 22 Man of the Match honours.
Since winning against England in 1992, he was accused of ball tampering by the English media.
He made his debut as Pakistan’s captain in the West Indies tour in April 1993. However, he and three teammates were arrested for drug possession. They were later given bail and released.
In 1999, he led Pakistan to the World Cup final, but they were defeated by Australia by eight wickets, with Australia chasing the target down in just 20.1 overs. There are also allegations that Akram arranged the match in order to benefit Australia. None of the charges, however, is proven.
He took 12 wickets in six matches during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. The Pakistan Cricket Board dismissed eight players, including Akram, after the team failed to qualify for the next round.
Between 1984 and 1986, Akram was a member of the Pakistan Automobiles Corporation, a first-class cricket team that contested in the Patron’s Trophy, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and the Pentangular Trophy until 1993-94.
He was a member of three Lahore cricket teams (1985–1987, 1997–1998, 2000–2001) and has played County cricket for Lancashire from 1988 to 1998 before joining Hampshire County Cricket Club in 2003.
Record in Numbers
Along with Nigel Briers, Martyn Moxon, Ian Salisbury, and Alec Stewart, Akram was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1993 for his sporting achievements.
He is the first bowler in the history of international cricket to take over 400 wickets in both ODI and Test matches.
Akram is the first bowler in international cricket history to have four hat-tricks, two each in Tests and One-Day Internationals.
In a test match against Zimbabwe, Akram scored an undefeated 257 runs off 363 balls, the highest score by a number eight batsman.
In Test cricket, he has earned 17 Man of the Match honours, which is tied for third most.
On January 9-11, 2002, he played his last test match against Bangladesh in Dhaka. He only bowled 2.4 overs before leaving the game with an injury, which ended up being his last game in the format.
He was one of the eight players sacked by the Pakistan board after a poor World Cup season, and he was unable to appear in his farewell match as a result. He did, however, complete his Hampshire contract before the end of the English season.