Wishes pour in as Wasim Akram turns 54

ISLAMABAD, Jun 03 (APP):Wishes poured in for former legendary Pakistan captain and the ‘Sultan of Swing’ Wasim Akram, who turned 54 on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) took to their social media handles to pay glowing tribute and extend good wishes to erstwhile left-arm pacer.

“Happy birthday to the legendary Pakistan all-rounder, Wasim Akram,” ICC on its official twitter account.

“104 Tests, 356 ODIs…916 international wickets…6,615 runs…1992 Men’s cricket World Cup champion,” it said.

“Most wickets by a fast bowler in ODIs…Most wickets by a left-armer in international cricket…Happy Birthday to one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time Wasim Akram!” the PCB tweeted.

Former fast bowler and Wasim’s teammate Shoaib Akhtar also took to twitter to express his well wishes. “A very Happy Birthday to Wasim Akram.

An absolute legend of the game and the best left-arm fast bowler the game has ever seen. Haven’t seen anyone more magical than him on a cricket field. An inspiration beyond words,” he wrote.

“Happy Birthday. @wasimakramlive. I have cleared my schedule for the unforeseeable future.I won’t be meeting anyone, going to salons, seeing friends or leaving the house unnecessarily.

I’m literally going to stop all social activities just to spend quality time with you #QuarantineBday,” Wasim’s wife Shaniera Akram wrote on social media.
Legendary Wasim thanked all for wishing him on his birthday.

“Thank you everyone for all my birthday messages, I’ve spent almost a quarter of this year in quarantine so I really don’t think it’s fair to count this birthday, so I have decided to remain 53 for one more year. It’s only fair,” he wrote on his twitter handle.

Perhaps the best left-arm fast bowler of all time, Wasim was born in Lahore on June 3, 1966. Wasim made his ODI debut on November 23, 1984 against New Zealand in Faisalabad, while his Test debut came against the same country on January 25, 1985 in Auckland.

Over a19-year career, Wasim took 916 international wickets, making him the most successful left-arm pacer of all time. In October 2013, he was the only cricketer from Pakistan to be named in an all-time Test World XI on the 150th anniversary of the Wisden Almanack.

The dream fast bowler is next only to Sri Lankan great spinner Muttiah Muralitharan as the leading wicket-taker in ODIs, but is the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in one-day internationals.

He was the first bowler to grab four hat-tricks in international cricket – two in Tests and as many in in ODIs. He is the ninth highest wicket-taker in Test history with a total of 414 wickets. He captained Pakistan in 25 Tests and 109 ODIs, winning 12 and 66 matches, respectively. He led Pakistan to a 2-0 win against England in Test series at home in 1996.

Under him Pakistan team also reached the final of the 1999 World Cup. He had a successful captaincy stint with county club Lancashire as him the team lifted the ECB Trophy and Axa League and ended second in the championship tournament despite losing only five matches in all competitions throughout the season.

In batting, he scored 3,717 runs in ODIs and 2,898 runs in Tests with a best of 86 and an undefeated 257 respectively. During his knock of 257, which is the highest score for a No. 8 batsman in Test cricket – against Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura in 1996, Akram smashed 22 fours and 12 sixes, adding 313 runs with Saqlain Mushtaq.

Although, Wasim called it a day to cricket after the 2003 World Cup, he continues coaching stints and entertaining fans through his commentary.