July 19, 2011

There are some cricketers who have a distinctive aura about them, cricketers whose every word fans want to listen to, cricketers who have the right to talk cricket because they have “walked the walk and aren’t just talking the talk”.

The term legend, superstar and icon are phrases that we hear all the time, phrases that are frankly overused and used quite often to describe cricketers that don’t deserve that honour and respect.

Wasim Akram is one such cricketer who has every right to be included in the list of outstanding and greatest ever cricketers. A record that boasts 916 international wickets, at an average of just over 23.5, Wasim is regarded by many as the best left arm bowler ever.

Wasim’s career for Pakistan spanned just under 17 years and he featured in 460 matches. However it wasn’t just international cricket in which Wasim showed his brilliance. An “adopted son” of Lancashire, Wasim was part of a golden generation at the County and helped the county to a hugely successful period. Chants of “Wasim for England” would be heard all around the ground when Wasim came onto bowl or strode out to the wicket with willow in hand.

Back for the summer to his “second home” in Manchester, Wasim is assisting international charity Islamic Relief in their continued efforts to help the flood victims in Pakistan. One such appearance was at the home of Manchester United on Friday 15th July.

Wasim’s passion on the field was never in doubt and that same passion was clearly evident when he spoke of the disaster in Pakistan.

Wasim’s playing career ended more than 9 years ago and the unforgettable World Cup victory will be 20 years ago next year, but when the replays of some of his best moments were replayed across the many television screens and large screens in the Manchester Suite, the joy and pride on Wasim’s face lit up the room. Those wickets, those runs scored, those victories meant something to him, they were not shallow victories, or victories just for Wasim himself, but they were victories for the country he loved and still
loves.

The majority of Wasim’s harshest critics these days are rather comically those that never actually saw him bowl at his peak, instead base their judgement on “what they have heard” or what they saw at the tail en of an illustrious career.

Those that doubt Wasim’s allegiance to his country should have been in attendance last night and heard what he had to say, how he presented and portrayed himself.

Wasim was asked a few questions by the host and then it was an open question and answer session, where anyone in attendance could ask him a question. The questions were not pre-arranged, Wasim did not ask for any questions not to be asked and he answered all of the questions in an open and honest manner.

Here is a summary of what Wasim Akram said at the event.

*The Start*

Javed Miandad spotted me and the rest as they say is history.

*Inspirations*

My cricketing role model was Imran Khan. He set such high standards for himself and the team. Nobody could simply play below par and get away with it. Off the field my inspiration was my late wife Huma who I dearly miss. What I am today and who I am today, is all credit to Huma.

*Umar Akmal*

A very bright talent for Pakistan. With some refinements he has the ability to do very well in international cricket.

*Coaching in Pakistan*

I have always made myself available to help cricketers in Pakistan. I have always made it clear that I am prepared to help Pakistan cricket, but I am only available for short coaching stints as I have 2 young sons who I am responsible for and need to spend time with.

*Prized Wickets*

Every wicket was a prized wicket. It’s difficult to single any out, but of course the wickets in the 1992 World Cup Final will always be special for me, especially as they were against England in such an important match.

*Discipline and Focus During His Career*

Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar were the architects of my cricketing discipline. They were disciplined cricketers themselves and great role models for youngsters like me. Imran would really scold us if we made mistakes and that meant that you never repeated those mistakes again.

*Pakistan’s Cricketing Future*

It’s a worrying state of affairs. International cricket needs to return to Pakistan very soon, otherwise the future looks very bleak.

*Channeling Talent *

Talent in Pakistan needs to be channelized correctly. The way the talent is being channelized has to have more structure and organization, otherwise the talent will be lost.

Wasim’s appearance at the event was truly memorable for all. He portrayed pride, professionalism, showed that he really wanted to be there, and despite having to leave the event slightly early his presence made the
evening a special one.

Extremely approachable, comfortable in the surroundings, very well spoken and a great ambassador for Pakistan and Pakistan cricket, Wasim showed to everyone why he was and remains a legend.

The event was yet another very well organized evening by Islamic Relief that most importantly raised £111,000 for a brilliant and worthy cause and I congratulate and applaud Islamic Relief for their efforts for the flood victims of Pakistan and would urge you all out there to support this charity in any way you can.

Contributed by: PAKPASSION.NET
For more information: info@wasimakramlive.com


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