Whenever there is a discussion about the finest fast bowlers to have played the game, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram’s name always comes up. With over 900 international wickets (414 in Tests and 502 in ODIs), the former left-arm had earned the tag of ‘swing king’ during his playing days. After drawing curtains on his illustrious career in 2003, Akram turned into a successful broadcaster. He has even served as a coach in several franchise cricket leagues, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), and guided the youngsters. However, the match-fixing allegations during the late 1990s often haunt him.
In a conversation with Wide World of Sports, Wasim recently opened up on the issue. He said how today’s generation of Pakistan still refers to him as a match-fixer, adding that the allegations drove him toward penning his autobiography, Sultan: A Memoir.
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“In Australia, England, West Indies and India, when they talk about the World XI, when they talk about the best bowler in the world, my name pops up but in Pakistan, this generation, this social media generation, they are the one who come down, every comment they send, they say, ‘oh, he is a match fixer’, not knowing what it was. I have passed that stage in my life where I have to worry about people,” Akram said.
Wasim Akram “In Australia, West Indies, England and India when they talk about one of the best bowlers in the world my name pops up. But in Pakistan this social media generation they call me a match-fixer" (courtesy Wide World of Sports) #Cricket pic.twitter.com/0pNjQHK35W— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) November 20, 2022
Why does Wasim Akram often face such allegations?
The event backdates to the year 1996 when Wasim was accused of fixing the game between Pakistan and New Zealand at Christchurch. Later, his withdrawal from the 1996 World Cup clash against Team India in the quarterfinals became another reason for facing flak from fans.
According to a Geo.tv report, the Pakistan Cricket Board established an inquiry panel to investigate the match-fixing allegations against Wasim Akram. The panel’s report was published in 2000 in which held several cricketers responsible for the crime, including Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman.
Akram was given the benefit of doubt by the commission in its report. However, the commission also fined him Rs 300,000 after the report was published.
“The evidence against Wasim Akram has not come up to the requisite level, primarily because of Ata-ur-Rehman’s perjuring himself. This Commission is willing to give him the benefit of doubt,” the report stated, as quoted by Geo.tv.
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“However, there has been some evidence to cast doubt on his integrity. As such, this Commission recommends that he be removed from the captaincy of the Pakistan Cricket Team and a person of impeccable character be appointed. Moreover, he should be censured, kept under watch, and his finances should be investigated,” it added.
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