Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wasim Akram: The Living Legend of Cricket - - Immensely Talented Bowler With Amazing But Controversial Cricketing Career

Wasim Akram was born on June 3, 1966 in Lahore Pakistan. He is broadly renowned as the best and the finest left arm fast bowler that was witnessed by the cricketing world. He was a generously gifted cricketer; who had left his unforgettable marks in the books of cricketing history.

Controversial Career
Wasim Akram was the finest fast bowler of his generation and undoubtedly one of the best among all his predecessors. Even with his genuine pace he had complete control over both outswing and inswing deliveries because of his pin point control of line & length and deadly accurate seam position. He is also credited with being the first to master reverse swing and by the end of his career was producing it almost at will. Therefore, we can say unquestionably that there might be very few skills of the fast bowlers armoury which he did not have at his disposal.
Wasim Akram was one of Lancashire’s most successful overseas players ever. From 1988 to 1998, he led Lancashire’s attack in their Nat West Trophy, Benson & Hedges Cup and Sunday League winning sides. He was too good that local fans used to sing “Wasim for England”.
With a very deceiving ball-concealing action; Wasim Akram was exceptional with a very effective bouncer and an equally destructive Yorker. In companionship with Waqar Younis, he terrorised international batsmen in the 1990s. In 1992 irritated with the great performance against the English batsmen; the English press started accusing them of ball tampering. Wasim Akram brought a defamation action against the two former English cricketers, Allan Lamb and Ian Botham, responsible for all that and won sizeable damages. The two W’s continued to exhibit and improve the art of reverse swinging a cricket ball. The ball tampering accusation continued to hurt both bowling greats; a situation that was not helped when Wasim Akram’s mentor , Imran Khan, later disclosed doing with balls using a bottle top during his career but only in practice matches.
More severe allegations came later in his magical career. Especially at 1996 Cricket World Cup, a number of opponent players suspected that Wasim Akram, along with team-mates Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed, had attempted to fix the results of insignificant matches. All of three players were suspended by an interim inquiry of the Pakistan Cricket Board, but later they were vindicated and reinstated. Further match fixing allegations against the Pakistan cricket team cropped up again in 1999, while Wasim Akram was captain, but once again the accusations remained unproven.
He was the natural successor to Imran Khan as Pakistan’s leader and captain, but the match-fixing controversies of the 1990s hurted him, blunting his edge and dimming his luster. Never been a true all rounder (he averaged only 23.62 with the bat), he was sometimes charged of being sluggish with the bat. He made his critics silent in October 1996 when he piled up a massive 257 out of a total of 553 against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura.
One Day Success
Wasim Akram is considered the greatest bowler of any kind in one-day international cricket. He was also the first bowler in cricketing history to take more than 500 wickets in one-day internationals. A fast and furious bowler at the start of a game, he proved himself as the most deadly towards the end when he could get the old ball to reverse swing. His swinging Yorkers or toe-crushers were matchless and earned him a amazing number of wickets.
Wasim Akram was involved, more than any body else, in Pakistan’s famous World Cup victory in 1992 in Australia. He also headed Pakistan with success on numerous occasions. The peak points of his captaincy were the 1994 victory in the World Series in Australia and in 1999 World Cup, when Pakistan reached the final for the second time. The reverse side of his captaincy being the World Cup 1996 in Pakistan and India, when he had to pull out of the crucial quarter final match against India, due to a shoulder and back injury. Critics again alleged him of having done this to make illegal monetary gains.
He was Pakistan’s top bowler in the 2003 World Cup taking 19 wickets in 7 matches. After the 2003 World Cup when Pakistan failed to reach the super-eight round, eight players were fired by the Pakistan Cricket Board including Wasim Akram himself, and Waqar Younis , Shahid Afridi , Abdul Razzaq , Saqlain Mushtaq , Azhar Mahmood and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Wasim Akram retired in 2003, after a brief spell with Hampshire County Cricket Club in England. Controversies still loved to follow Wasim Akram and he has been recently accused of buying a car and then not paying for it and was sued for having modelled in a Indian Whisky advertisement, and coaching at the Indian cricket team in the preparations for a home series against Pakistan.
Wasim Akram was married to Huma Mufti, daughter of Mr. Humayaun Mufti. Huma and Wasim have two sons, Taimur and Akbar, from their married life of 10 years. She left him alone on 25th October 2009 due to heart and kidney complications and laid to rest on October 26, 2009 at DHA graveyard at Lahore.
International Record
In his test career, Wasim Akram took 414 wickets (a Pakistani record, and 7th all time) at an excellent average of 23.62 and scored 2898 runs at an average of 22.64. In one-day internationals Wasim Akram was again a force to be reckoned with taking a record 502 wickets in 356 appearances scoring 3717 runs along the way.

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