November 2, 2011

Dubai, Oct 16: In a fast paced freewheeling interview with so many other reporters, photographers and admirers mobbing around the speedster, ‘King of Swing’ Wasim Akram of Pakistan spoke about various aspects of cricket and his surrounding life including diabetes. Wasim was in Dubai as the brand ambassador of the Dubai Super Sixes cricket tournament and met the press where the Dubai Super Sixes tournament was announced. Arshad Zaheer, M D Crayons Communications was also present on the occasion apart from others.

Excerpts from an interview:

Denzil: Wasim, you have been a regular to Dubai. Do you find any changes?

Wasim: Oh yes, I have been coming to the UAE from 1984 as a 17 year old and have immensely enjoyed my visits here. This is like my second home and I have seen the huge growth and development especially in Dubai. I love the place and the people very much.

I have fond memories of the Sharjah cricket stadium also.

Denzil: Who have been your most influential persons in your cricket career?

Wasim: Without doubt it has to be former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan and my late wife Huma who both were the reasons for my success. They backed me up like anything.

Denzil: Talking about Pakistan cricket do you think a foreigner should coach them?

Wasim: I think a foreigner can bring better results than a local coach. With so much of interference it is difficult for a local Pakistani coach to do a proper job. I think a foreigner will be able to get a lot more control, discipline and good results with a Pakistan team.

The team will do better under a foreign coach.

Denzil: What is your take on the Pakistan team?

Wasim: I feel the team is a good and strong one as long as they concentrate on their cricket.

Denzil: You have a new chief for the Pakistan Cricket Board Zaka Ashraf has taken over from Butt. Your comments please.

Wasim: Yes, we know that Zaka Ashraf is a hugely successful businessman and banker. One hopes that he will do a good job for Pakistan cricket. I think he should ensure that a well selected cricket committee does the job under his leadership. You don’t have to be a cricketer for the top management as long as you are able to steer people under you for better results. Look at India and Bangladesh where cricket is run successfully even with non cricketers at the top.

Denzil: You heard about Shoaib Akhtar’s controversial book where he said Sachin Tendulkar was shivering when he faced the Pakistan bowler.

Wasim: (laughs) Yes, I have heard people shivering on the bed when they have fever but not at the wicket. And especially not Sachin who is a class apart.

Denzil: Who according to you is the best batsman in the world?

Wasim: It is very very difficult to say having played for so many years. I would rate Martin Crowe, Sachin Tendulkar and also Sunil Gavaskar whose wicket I would love to take. And, there is also Vivian Richards.

Denzil: There is too much cricket these days with the shorter version and the longer version. What do you say?

Wasim: Look, the shorter version is for fun and entertainment and the longer version is the real stuff of cricket. Unless you show your talent in the longer version there is no point talking about the shorter version. A real cricketer has to show his class in the longer version before he gets into the other quicker games where of course there is good money.

Denzil: How are you enjoying the Indian Premier League (IPL) ?

Wasim: Oh it is fantastic. I am involved with the Kolkatta Knight Riders (KKR) and we have a great team. We have a fine captain, coach and owner and everyone in the team is great.

Denzil: You are also a famous cricket expert and commentator. What is the difference as a player and a commentator now?

Wasim: Do you know that we commentators work more than the players? If the match starts at 10 a.m. we are at the ground at 8 a.m. to make the preparations and even after the match ends say at about 6 p.m. we go off only after 7 p.m. It is a hectic schedule.

Denzil: Despite being a diabetic you have played brilliant cricket.

Wasim: Yes, I have been a diabetic for quite a long long time. Diabetes is due to a lethargic lifestyle and I have now controlled my lifestyle and managed also to play cricket alongside.

It is unfortunate but with proper self control and regular diet and medicines I think you can manage it.

Denzil: You are the brand ambassador of the Dubai Super Sixes. What are your expectations?

Wasim: We are now in the second successive year. I played last year but I am far fitter now and will perform much better this year for the team I play for. We had a great tournament last year. Within a short time, I am sure that the Super Sixes are going to be a big international event. I am proud to be associated with the event.

Denzil: Thank you Wasim and all the best.


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