Wasim: live-wire

Ektaa Malik
Wasim Akram - the name sends shivers down the spine of many a batsman in world cricket. Thankfully for them the “sultan of swing” has retired from all forms of the game. The 6 feet 2 inches bowler from Lahore who was once spotted by Imran Khan is now in the capital to make another quickie; but this time for India. The 43 years old left-arm pacer known for his variety is now bowling on a completely different pitch.

At the Stephens cricket ground to nurture young talent Wasim was seen involved with a group of 15 years olds trying to play for Team India. The four-day bowling skill camp organised by the Delhi Development & Cricket Association has given a unique opportunity to a group of 18 young boys not only to learn the nuances of fast bowling but also to interact with Wasim bhai on a one to one basis.

Former Pakistan captain, Wasim has been known for his outstanding support to the Indian bowlers and has always been generous with his tips and suggestions to them. This bowling camp is a classic example of the desire and willingness of Wasim to share his experience and spread the art. Wasim has been quite instrumental in shaping up the skills of Indian fast bowlers especially Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan. Not only Zaheer and Irfan, but any left arm pacer in the world has Wasim in mind when he makes his foray into the world of cricket.

When asked about the future of bowling and talent present in India he said, “There’s no dearth of talent in India, but the question remains as to how that talent is honed and brought forward.” But he maintained “that the key to success is hard work and hard work alone. India like Pakistan has abundance of talent but it’s lost somewhere in between. Be it the loose domestic structure or the nepotism in the selection process.”

The man, who made his international cricket debut way back in 1984 (against New Zealand in Faisalabad) is a treat to watch on the field. His dominating presence and contagious levels of energy mixed with raw talent on the ground made an eclectic mix for a humid Saturday morning.

With a total wicket tally of 916 in both forms of the game the man can still pack a witty punch with the over eager youngsters. Even after 6 years of retirement the Punjabi speaking Wasim bhai remains a force to be reckoned with - be it his charming persona, the winning smile and the easy going demeanour. However all these take a back seat when he is training the youngsters. He never takes his eyes off the ball. The love for the game is still very much apparent in him. With a smile he concluded that he’ll be back soon in India for the Champions’ league.

Brainstorming on the field