Wasim Akram- A cricket fan’s addiction

My name is Assad Hasanain and I am an addict.  I must confess today, my obsession with Wasim Akram has reached dangerous levels.

The first time I thought there was a problem was when I saw a video titled, “Wasim Akram bowling after 4 years”. It really is the most terrible video quality with a bad camera angle and annoyingly has music in the background. But just to see the great man run in and turn his arm over was reason enough to do multiple re-runs of the video. Then of course there was his celebration. Arms spread out, running towards the keeper…. it was like 1992 all over again.

 

I must confess that I open up Youtube every day and look for all Wasim Akram videos posted in the last week. I must also confess that I can identify every Wasim Akram wicket on Youtube without looking at the video or listening to the commentary. The sound of the ball hitting wicket or the scream of Wasim’s celebration is all I need to identify the video. Take for example the the wicket of Alan Lamb in the 1992 world cup final. The sound of that Alan Lamb wicket is imprinted on my memory.

But recently the obsession with Wasim Akram has taken new forms of extreme. Every video reveals a new dimension to his bowling or a unique aspect of his personality.For example, here’s a clip of Wasim against Sri Lanka. It’s nothing extraordinary. Just a video of Wasim cursing after an appeal for LBW was correctly turned down. God, Wasim looks awesome even when he’s angry.

 

There’s another beauty on Youtube that’s appropriately labelled “Ball of the Century by Wasim Akram”. It’s a ball that personifies Wasim Akram’s career. It was a ball that had no business doing what it did, angled in from around the wicket into the batsman’s pads. If it were any other left arm seamer it would have been leg glanced for four. But then there’s the genius of Wasim. In the last few metres of its trajectory, the ball decides to do a wicked left and smashes into the pads of a helpless Robert Croft. The umpire, the poor mortal is as befuddled by the genius of Akram as the batsman and turns down the LBW appeal. Well who cares if it was out or not. At least we get to see that exasperated expression on his face. God, Wasim looks awesome even when he’s exasperated.

 

But nothing on Youtube quite gets the heart racing like the sound of Bill Lawry sounding praises of Wasim in his high pitched overtones. Take a look at this clip from the 1996 Carlton and United Series. I must confess, when Bill Lawry uses the word “he’s a beautiful bowler”, I get goosebumps.

The wicket of Darren Lehman also gets special mention. The yorker snakes into his pads and appropriately leaves Lehman on his knees while Wasim celebrates like the conquerer that he is.

 

Take a look at 7:24 in this video clip from the Chennai test match in 1999. Mongia is bossing the game and smashing the Pakistan bowlers all around the park. Out of nowhere, on a lifeless Chennai wicket, without any discernible effort, Wasim Bhai bowls a bouncer that gives both Nayan Mongia and Moin Khan the shock of their lives and flies over the helpless batsman and keeper to the boundary.

 

No Wasim Akram Youtube stalking experience could be complete without recalling his famous two card trick against Rahul Dravid in Chennai. It’s a lifeless wicket, it’s the Wall of India, it’s a high pressure situation. Akram runs in, bowls the leg cutter and catches Dravid on the crease. The Indian umpire shakes his head. Akram stands with a puzzled look on his face. He returns to the top of his mark and bowls  another in swinger that Dravid plays out. There’s something ticking in Wasim’s brain. He comes back next over and bowls him an out swinger. But this is not just any out swinger. It’s just about the most perfect out swinger that a batsman could ever have to face. None of the blame for this wicket can be laid on Dravid. The poor guy did everything right; covered his stumps and tried to play straight. If the ball had hit his pad it would not have been out LBW because it had pitched outside the leg stump. But then there’s the genius of Wasim. The balls starts outside leg, beats the bat of the best defensive player in the game and kisses the off bail.It was one of those little moments that made Wasim Akram who he was. The greatest artist who ever played the game.

 

Yes folks, I, Assad Hasanain am an addict. I dream about the day the next Wasim Akram is born. Until that day, I’ll continue to treat my addiction with these memories of the genius of Wasim Akram.

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About Assad Hasanain
Follow me on twitter @LeftArmAround

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