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Wasim Akram

large product photoWasim Akram (born June 3, 1966 in Lahore) is a Pakistani former cricketer. He was primarily a left arm fast bowler and represented the Pakistani cricket team in Tests and One-day Internationals. He is widely regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers ever and holds world records for the number of wickets taken both in ODIs (502) and in List A cricket. A statistical analysis carried out by Wisden in 2002 ranked him the number one fast bowler of all time in ODIs

An immensely talented player, Wasim Akram played for his school as an opening bowler and batsman. As a bowler, Wasim possessed genuine pace, accurate control of line and length and seam position, and could swing the ball both in and out. With a very deceptive ball-concealing action, he could bowl equally well from both sides of the wicket. His mastery of reverse swing with the old ball meant he was at his most dangerous towards the end of an innings, and earned him the nickname Sultan of Swing.

Wasim was instrumental in Pakistan's famous World Cup victory in 1992 in Australia. In the final against England he produced a devastating spell which included Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis being clean-bowled in successive deliveries. This earned him the Man of the Match award for the final. Along with this, he produced a good score with the bat at the end of the Pakistan innings.

He also captained Pakistan with some success. The high points of his captaincy were the 1996-97 victory in the World Series in Australia, two Test match wins in India in 1998-99 and in 1999, when Pakistan reached the World Cup final for the second time. The low point was the 1996 World Cup in Pakistan and India, when he had to pull out of the crucial quarter final match against India, due to a rib muscle injury. After Pakistan's defeat, there were angry protests outside his homes, and a government inquiry was launched into the failure.

In 1999, he led Pakistan to the brink of victory in the World Cup before they gifted the final to Australia. This was the the start of the match-fixing controversies, people believing Akram had set up the match for Australia. He was pardoned by Justice Qayyum.

He was Pakistan's top bowler in the 2003 Cricket World Cup taking 19 wickets in 7 matches. After the 2003 World Cup when Pakistan failed to reach the top 8 group, eight players were sacked by the Pakistan Cricket Board including Wasim himself.

Wasim Akram was diagnosed with diabetes at the peak of his career, but despite the initial psychological blow, he managed to regain his form and went on to produce fine cricketing displays. Since then he has actively sought to involved in various awareness-raising campaigns for diabeties.

Wasim retired in 2003, after a brief spell with Hampshire in England. Since then, Wasim has taken up commentary and can currently be seen as a sportscaster for the ESPN STAR Network, and is also running shows on ARY digital.