Wasim Akram, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, and known as “Sultan of Swing” for cricket fans turn 54 today.
Wasim regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the game and perhaps the finest of all left-arm fast bowlers, feared by some of the greatest batsmen in the world.
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 cricket almanac Wisden.
He holds the world record for most wickets in first-class cricket with 881 and 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 and Wasim was ranked as the best bowler in ODI of all time head of Allan Donald, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, 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
The government of Pakistan awarded him the Hilal-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2019 for his lifetime achievements in the field of cricket.
Wasim Akram made his Test cricket debut for Pakistan against New Zealand in 1985 and claimed ten wickets in his second Test match.
Akram was an unknown club cricketer who had failed to make it even to his college team but greater things were destined for him. He was given an opportunity to play for the national team without any significant domestic experience after convincing Javed Miandad during trials at the Gaddafi Stadium.
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. He re-emerged in the 1990s as a fast bowler focusing more on swing and accurate bowling.
Akram started his ODI career against New Zealand in Pakistan in 1984 under the captaincy of Zaheer Abbas. He rose to prominence by taking five wickets in his 3rd ODI against Australia in 1985.
In the 1987 World Cup held for the 1st time in South Asia, Akram struggled on Pakistani pitches and managed only seven wickets.
Akram took his 100th wicket at Sharjah during the 1989–1990 Champions Trophy. In the same match, Akram took his first hat-trick against West Indies bowling all three batsmen.
On 4 May 1990 in Sharjah, Akram took his second ODI hat-trick against Australia. His best years in the late 1980s were from 1986–1989, during which time he took 100 wickets.
Sultan of Swing
Akram was a significant figure in the 1992 Cricket World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand when Pakistan won the tournament.
In the final against England, his innings of 33 runs off 19 balls pushed Pakistan to a score of 249 runs for 6 wickets. His performances earned him the Man of the Match award for the final.
In 1999, he led Pakistan to the finals of the World Cup where they were defeated by Australia in the final by eight wickets with almost 30 overs to spare.
This was the start of the match-fixing controversies which Akram had dodged ever since but none of the allegations could be proved.
He was Pakistan’s best bowler in the 2003 Cricket World Cup, taking 12 wickets in six matches. However, Pakistan failed to reach the super six of the tournament, and Akram was among eight players to be sacked as a result.
Prior to his retirement, he was one of eight senior players dropped for the Sharjah Cup in April 2003. Due to his omission from the team, he did not participate in a farewell match but continued to be remembered by cricket fans for his versatile bowling action till now.