Former Pakistani speedster Wasim Akram is one of the biggest legends that the game of cricket has ever produced. In an international career of nearly 2 decades, Akram troubled the biggest names in batting with his lethal deliveries. He redefined the art of pace balling with his unique ability to swing the ball both ways, earning him the title of Sultan of Swing. Akram became the role model of many fast bowlers who aspired to make their name at the international level. Interestingly, Akram who went on to pick over 900 wickets in his international cricket, had never played domestic cricket before the big stage debut.
On November 23, 1984, he stepped out for the first time in a Pakistani jersey making his debut in the second One Day International match against New Zealand at Faisalabad. Just 2 months after his ODI debut, he made his first test appearance against the same opponent at Auckland.
In just his second Test appearance for Pakistan, he got a ten-wicket haul and grabbed the attention of the cricketing world. The speedster went on to play a crucial role in Pakistan’s maiden World Cup victory in 1992 under Imran Khan’s captaincy.
In his career, Akram was also appointed the captain of the Pakistani team. He captained Pakistan in 25 Tests and 109 ODIs, of which the team won 12 and 66 matches respectively. As he celebrates his 55th birthday today, we look back at some of the records he created during his illustrious international career.
Highest wicket-taker for Pakistan
With 916 international wickets, Akram is Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker across formats. Even today, 17 years after his retirement, he is still Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in both Test (414) and ODI cricket (502).
First Cricketer to Take 500 ODI wickets
Akram was the first-ever cricketer to achieve the feat of 500 ODI wickets and became the founder of this esteemed club. He was later joined by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Murlidharan who went on to become the highest ODI wicket-taker. At 502 ODI wickets, Akram is still the second only to Murlidharan.
First to pick 4 International hat-tricks
Akram was the first bowler to grab four hat-tricks in international cricket – two in Tests and two in ODIs. Akram picked a total of 5 hat trick in his international career. His feat was later parallel by Lasith Malinga who now has the most number of international hat-tricks along with the Sultan of Swing.
Highest individual score batting at number 8 in Tests
Apart from delivering fiery bowling spells, Akram was also a handy batsman. In his international career of 460 international cricket matches, he scored 6,615 runs. This also included 3 international hundreds 13 fifties and one test double century. His score of 257 against Zimbabwe during a test in 1996, is still the highest individual score by a batsman batting at number 8 in tests.
Most Sixes in a Test innings
During his knock of 257 against Zimbabwe in 1996, Akram hit 12 sixes which still is the most number of sixes hit in a Test innings by any batter.