What comes to your mind when you hear the name Wasim Akram? Fast bowling? Swinging yorkers? The charming ways of the player himself? Or all of these? Because Wasim Akram cannot be defined by a single phrase. His talent was such monumental that a lexicon of words is needed to define it. To capture a glimpse of his legacy. To catch hold of what he represents. Because Akram was great, a true great.
Former Pakistani cricketer turned cricket commentator and television personality, Wasim Akram is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. He represented the Pakistan cricket team in both Test cricket and One Day International matches and is one of the finest players to come out of Pakistan’s ‘fast-bowling-producing-factory.’
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Wasim Akram Career
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Akram is often credited as the founder of the ‘reverse swing’ and is arguably the finest of all left-arm fast bowlers. He was so dominant at his peak that he was deemed nearly unplayable, with his reverse swings and point-prefect yorkers proving to be a thorn for the batsmen who tried to counter his bowling.
Naturally, with this much talent, records came tumbling to him. He currently holds the world record for most wickets in List A cricket, with 881, and the second most wicket ODI wickets with 502 in total, only behind Muttiah Muralidharan’s 534.
In his Test career, Akram took 414 wickets in 104 matches, a Pakistani record, at an average of 23.62 and scored 2,898 runs, at an average of 22.64. In One Day Internationals, Akram took 502 wickets in 356 appearances, at an average of 23.52 and scored 3,717 runs, at an average of 16.52.
During the 2003 World Cup, he became the first bowler in the history of cricket to claim 500 wickets in ODI, a feat which was deemed impossible by pundits worldwide. Not only this, Wasim has taken 23 four-wicket hauls in ODI in 356 matches he played was ranked by Wisden as the best ODI bowler of all time, ahead of the likes of greats like Allan Border, Waqar Younis, Glenn McGrath, Joel Garner and others.
For his contribution to cricket, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on September 2009. In October 2013, he became the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
More recently he was the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, following it up by working as director and bowling coach of Islamabad United in Pakistan Super League, and then of Multan Sultans in August 2017.
Wasim Akram Early Life
Wasim Akram was born on 3 June, 1966, in a Punjabi Muslim family in Lahore to Chaudhry Mohammad Akram and Begum Akram Chaudhry. He was educated at Government Islamia College Civil Lines, Lahore, where he played as an opening bowler and batsman. Wasim Akram’s magical moment came when he participated in a trials conducted at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Interestingly, he was a mere spectator for the first two days and finally, got a chance to roll his arms over on the third day. Straightaway, he impressed Pakistan’s senior cricket Javed Miandad, who then pressed for Akram’s inclusion immediately into the national team. That was the opening the legend needed. Thereafter, success followed and he became overnight sensation in his country and world over.
Wasim Akram First Marriage
Romance came into Wasim’s life in 1991 when he came in touch with the Pakistani cricket team’s psychologist Huma Mufti. Courtship followed, and the love birds married in 1995. Akram said in an interview that what impressed him most about Huma was the strength of her character, standing by him during the 1993-1994 revolt of Pakistani cricket players against Akram’s captaincy.
It was during that time that the couple became extremely close and decided to extend the companionship to a lifetime. They tied the knot with a traditional Islamic nikaah in the year 1995 in Lahore. More happiness followed the Akram family as the couple were blessed with two sons, Tahmoor (born in 1996) and Akbar (born in 2000).
They became one of the most high-profile and sought after couple in their country, and would often be spotted together at social gatherings and public events. She was a constant support to Wasim, standing by him through thick and thin. However, the charming togetherness of Huma and Wasim came to an abrupt tragic end in the year 2009, when Huma fell sick with high fever that seemed incurable.
She was taken on-board an air ambulance in late 2009, which was scheduled to fly from Pakistan to Singapore, where she would have her further treatment. Unfortunately, she suffered a heart attack when the aircraft was at Chennai for refuelling. She was immediately rushed to a premier hospital in Chennai but did not recuperate or respond to treatment there.
Huma Akram breathed her last in the early hours of 25th October, 2009, in Chennai. She was 42. Needless to say, Akram was shattered by this incident, and it left a certain dent in his life, having brought a cruel early end to the first Wasim Akram marriage and leaving his children motherless.
Wasim Akram Second Marriage
After the death of his wife, Wasim was linked with several women including Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen. But in an interview, Wasim refuted all these allegations and shared that his number one priority was the welfare and future of his children. However, destiny had other plans as a new woman by the name of Shaniera Thompson came calling into his life.
Wasim met Shaniera while on one of his commentating tours to Australia. She was a public relations consultant and the two met of them at a party, strucking a friendly rapport right away. The two of them became very good friends, with Wasim meeting her whenever he visited Australia. In due time, friendship turned into love as both of them realised that they’re falling for each other.
After two years of courtship, he finally proposed to Shaniera in 2013 by getting down on his knees at a hotel lounge. Shaniera was delighted by his proposal and agreed to it immediately. Shaniera later shared in a Pakistani talk show that she found Wasim to be ‘honest, reliable and funny’, and that is what attracted her towards him.
Both the families got involved and the couple got engaged in July 2013, after which they decided to get married the next month. The Shaniera-Wasim Akram marriage was also a private Islamic wedding in Lahore, before which Shaniera embraced Islam and converted to it.
In an interview later, Wasim shared that Shaniera had taken charge of being the mother to his two sons right away. He also candidly shared that she is learning Urdu, and has started picking up the language. The couple had a baby daughter in December 2014 in Melbourne, whom they named Aiyla.
Wasim and Shaniera currently live in Lahore with their three children, and their marriage has been a successful one. The couple are living up to their celebrity status and even appeared on the very popular “The Kapil Sharma Show”. Akram’s life had as many ups and downs as one of his swing deliveries!