Wasim Akram never played college cricket. He did not even play in a domestic game. He went straight into the national team. It was just his talent which pushed him through the doors to don the Pakistani jersey and the natural ability to almost have a cannon-like, reverse-swinging machine of a hand, with the shortest run-up.
Born in the Lahore city of Pakistan, Wasim was a tall, skinny fast-bowler, who bowled fast and with precision. During open trials in Gaddafi stadium, Akram bowled to the great Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad, who was impressed by him. Miandad pressed for Akramâ€™s selection in the national side and as a result, the dream came true for a young Wasim Akram.
On November 23, 1984, a lanky bowler debuted for Pakistan in Faisalabad. That bowler never turned around ever in his life from there on. New Zealand was also the opposition against whom he made his Test debut against Auckland. His best, however, came in the second Test that followed. He picked five wickets in both the innings to grab everyoneâ€™s attention.
Akram played a significant role in Pakistanâ€™s 1992 ODI World Cup triumph. Skipper Imran Khan used him to the best use as Akran folded one wicket after the other in the final against England.
The leadership of Imran Khan had a lasting effect on Akram. It was reflected in the way he led his side in the 1999 World Cup in England. He had almost achieved what Imran had in 1992. But the mighty Australians were too tough to beat in the finals and Pakistan could not replicate the 1992 performance.
Along with Waqar Younis, Akram was the pioneer of bringing one of the most revolutionary elements to fast-bowling â€“ reverse swing. When Wasim and Waqar used to make the old ball reverse, people thought it was more of a scam than art. But there was no scam, it was just pure art.
Akram retired with massive wickets in his tally. With 414 and 502 wickets in ODIs and Test matches respectively, Akram is hailed as one of the legends of the game.