MAGICIAN OF HIS TRADE – WASIM AKRAM
March 26, 2013
Wasim Akram was a likely successor to the great Imran Khan as Pakistan’s supreme all-rounder and captain. Naturally talented, Wasim was polished under the reign of Imran Khan and he soon become one of the most threatening bowlers in the cricketing arena. Arguably, the finest left arm bowler of all time, he was often labelled as a “dream cricketer”.
Wasim, with a strong pair of shoulders use to bustle into the wicket and with his whippy action, he has teased and tested top ranked batsman of his era. His ability to deliver the bowl anywhere between 115kph to 145kph made him almost unplayable.
Wasim’s rise started in late 1980s, when Pakistan went to play West Indies. With the entire legacy belonging to the West Indian fast bowlers, on that particular tour Wasim looked to be the quickest between both sides. Early in his career, he was on track to be a star, and legend in making. With the lively pace, he was deadly, accurate and mastered the skill of the reverse and conventional swing. Unlike other bowlers, he used to swing both ways at complete ease.
His talent to bowl bouncers and Yorkers at his will was something extraordinary. His deception with the line and length, speed, and action made him the magician on the cricket ground. This was the reason that kept the batsman thinking on what they should expect from the master of his trade. With his bowling partner Waqar Younis, he was even more wreckful for the opposition. Both bowlers shared a healthy rivalry that helped the team in many ways. Similar with the results, but different bowling styles were nightmares for the top batsman. Wasim and Waqar, to-date are known to be the best bowling pair and were famously known as “wicket taking machines.”
Another aspect of Wasim’s success was to get sensational on all sorts of tracks. Most of the bowlers need some assist from the conditions; however, Wasim had a different case. He performed against all cricketing nations under varied conditions around the globe. He was absolute class on the supporting tracks, like in England and Australia. However, he was equally effective on tracks without zest and lift. When he was 20, Pakistan toured India under the captaincy of Imran Khan. Surprisingly, on dead flat tracks, he kept on chipping wickets habitually and returned to Pakistan as a “national hero.”
One of his top-notch performances was early in his career in the 1992 world cup final, played at Melbourne Cricket Ground. It is always a proud feeling to play in world cup finals, and if it is for the first time, one would like to make it memorable. This was the script given by the skipper Imran Khan, and Wasim performed as the situation demanded. Certainly, with butterflies in his tummy, Wasim walked to bat for Pakistan in the finals against England. On the last ball of Pakistan’s innings, he got run out; however, he had already done the damage to the opposition as he scored 33 runs off 18 balls with the help of 4 boundaries.
With the new white ball in his hand and bowling with purpose, he removed English star Ian Botham with the scoreboard reading 6. However, that was not the only delight he had for that night. Pakistan posted a total of 249 for victory and England were going steady at 141 for 4. Imran and his team started to feel the need of a wicket; Wasim was the one they could rely on. Wasim returned for a mid-innings spell and cleaned up the ever-consistent Allan Lamb. Next ball he disturbed the furniture of Chris Lewis. No one can explain these two unplayable deliveries that left England thinking what they had done wrong. Subsequently, this all-round performance for the night earned him man of the match award.