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Author Topic: from tennis ace to sheer pace - an account of wasim akram's early days  (Read 2203 times)

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Aloo Kashmiri Ul Haq

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taken from http://ww1.mid-day.com/sports/international/2006/february/130887.htm

Kapil Dev calls him the best bowler he’s seen. His bowling feats across a glorious international career have been well  documented.

But there’s an interesting aspect to him, which only the city of Lahore knows: Wasim Akram was equally devastating with a tennis ball!

He was the king of tennis ball cricket in Muzzang, a cricket crazy area in Lahore, which also bred another fast bowling great, Sarfaraz Nawaz.

Akram grew up in a  period when tennis ball cricket was a rage in Lahore and it was only obvious that he took to it.

Though born in the Model Town area, Akram’s tennis ball exploits started when, along with his mother, he moved to Muzzang to stay with his uncle (mother’s brother) Mohd Iqbal Shahid.

“He was in Class VII when he came to stay with me,” his uncle Iqbal told Mid Day, sitting in the verandah of his small house, where Akram spent his teenage years.

“He had a passion for cricket and would play in the gully and the nearby government school ground. We used to get tired of the daily complaints from our neighbours  regarding the damage his cricket would do to their property,” Iqbal, (65) recollected.

“His mother was very strict and worried about Akram, who never took interest in studies. She would even beat him up, but it had no effect on him,” Iqbal added.

Muzzang had one of the strongest tennis ball cricket club’s, (Youth Cricket Club), run by Yamin Siddique, a social worker who also owned a photo studio (Focus FS) in the vicinity. It was in a match against YCC, a side which had a couple of first-class players in its ranks, that Akram’s potential first came to the fore.

“We were up against a young side in an early round of a local tournament. It was supposed to be a cakewalk for us. But a certain gangly boy, his right arm wrapped in bandage (he was injured), bowling left-arm took a heap of wickets to suddenly put us under pressure.

We eventually won the match, but it was humiliating to be tested against a bunch of rookies,” revealed Yamin, now a photo-journalist.

Impressed, Yamin made enquiries about the bowler and called Akram to his shop.

“He was thin like a bean-pole,” said Yamin recollecting his first talk with Akram, “He was thrilled when I made him an offer to play for my club. We were already a strong side and after Akram joined us, we became unbeatable. We must have won at least 35-40 tournaments. He filled my cupboard at the shop with trophies,” Yamin added.

When Akram got fined

“Once in a big tournament, without informing us, under the influence of one of some senior players, Akram along with three other YCC boys played for a rival team, Shining Cricket Club. Akram  brought them to the final and they were up against us.

“We won that match, but I was very angry with Akram for deserting our team. So we banned all the three players. The next day he came and apologised to me. Our skipper also argued his case and I finally relented. But I told him that he would have to pay a fine of Rs 30. He agreed but requested a month’s time to pay up. After 30 days he promptly paid up.”

From spin to pace

As news of Akram’s exploits spread, Khalid Mehmood, a resident of Muzzang, who opened the bowling with Sarfaraz Nawaz in club cricket, noticed his talent.

“The first time I saw him, I was impressed with his fielding. He was very agile. I took him to play for my club (Ludhiana CC),” said Khalid.

“As for his bowling, he had very long fingers and used to bowl left-arm spin like Ravi Shastri. I advised him to bowl pace. He was natural and absolutely devastating. He would bowl out teams for 20 or 30 runs,” added Khalid.

From here Akram joined former Pakistan international Khan Mohammad’s coaching camp.

The rest, as they say, is history.
Why did the chicken cross the road?

According to Le Chatelier:
The chicken crossed the road because there were too many moles of chicken
on the reactants side of the road equilibrium.


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Re: from tennis ace to sheer pace - an account of wasim akram's early days
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 04:48:20 AM »

Desi yankee:

excellent job -- a good read!

CLR James

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Re: from tennis ace to sheer pace - an account of wasim akram's early days
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 02:19:25 AM »


Great read! Excellent find.
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