||03 June 1966
A dream cricketer. At his best Wasim Akram plays like most of us would wish to. He has complete mastery over swing and seam, and sometimes moves the ball both ways in one delivery. All this comes at high speed from a quick, ball-concealing action, and is backed up by the threat of a dangerous bouncer or deceptive slower delivery. Akram is rated by many as the best left-arm fast bowler of all time, and his career record certainly bears that out - along with the high regard of his contemporaries. He hit like a kicking horse, but batsmanship was one skill in which Akram underachieved, despite a monumental 257 against Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura in 1996-97. He was the natural successor to Imran Khan as Pakistan's leader and captain, but the match-fixing controversies of the 1990s harmed him, blunting his edge and dimming his lustre. Though he reached the 500-wicket landmark in ODIs in the 2003 World Cup, he was among the eight players dumped after Pakistan's miserable performance. He retired shortly after, following a brief spell with Hampshire.