5 batting records that Wasim Akram broke during his 257-run knock against Zimbabwe

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Omkar Mankame

Wasim Akram – the legendary Pakistani cricketer was loved world-over for his magical abilities with the ball in hand. When Akram bowled, the ball would act like a genie that fulfilled every wish of his master. One of the greatest batsmen ever, Brian Lara, singled Akram out as the only bowler he could never decipher.

414 Test wickets and 502 One day International wickets tell us the story of the havoc that Akram caused with the ball on the 22-yard strip. Today, however, we look at his most neglected aspect, his batting.

The innings that we focus on today shows the batting potential that was there but never got fulfilled. Wasim Akram's innings of 257 not out against Zimbabwe in 1996 broke many records, here are the most important of them.

#1 Highest individual score batting at number 8

Even in the age where almost every lower order batsman is capable of hitting a fifty in no time, it is surprising that this record still belongs to Wasim Akram. To be fair to him, no one in recent time has come even remotely close to his 257 runs tally.

Replying to Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 375, Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals and found themselves languishing at 183/6. The left-handed batsman, Wasim Akram came out to bat next, hitting his way out of the trouble. His partners fell one by one but Akram remained not out till the end, accumulating 257 runs.

Surprisingly the top-3 highest individual scores batting at number 8 in Tests all belong to Pakistan. Imtiaz Ahmed – 209 versus New Zealand in 1955 and Kamran Akmal – 154 versus England in 2005 are next on the list.

#2 Most sixes in a single Test innings

Pakistan Nets X

If this was a trivia question, no one would get the answer right even after hundred attempts. In a world full of Sehwag, Hayden, Gayle, Jayasuriya and McCullum, the man who holds the record for most sixes in a Test innings is Wasim Akram.

On his way to 257 not out, Wasim Akram punished the Zimbabwean bowlers for as many as 12 sixes – a record in Test cricket. The ferocious hits often made the ball land amongst the white kurta clad Pakistani crowd and once the ball made its way out of the ground too.

Although there have been four batsmen so far, who have managed to hit 11 sixes in one innings, none has been able to go past the record tally. Nathan Astle, Matthew Hayden, Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes are those batsmen.

#3 Highest individual score as Pakistani captain

England v Pakistan

The frequency with which Pakistan rotated its Test captains, many Pakistani batsmen would have had a shot at this record. Despite the illustrious names that played and captained Pakistan in the past, it was Wasim Akram who once owned that record.

The captaincy tradition set by Imran Khan was followed by making Wasim Akram the captain of the Test team in 1993. His innings of 257 against Zimbabwe in 1996 broke the record of the highest score by a Pakistani Test captain set previously by Salim Malik – 237 against Australia in 1994.

Akram’s record of 257 was eclipsed by Younis Khan in 2009 against Sri Lanka in Karachi as he crafted a triple century (313 runs). This was the same unfortunate tour where the Sri Lankan team was attacked by the terrorists.

#4 Highest score against Zimbabwe in Tests

Wasim Akram

Minnow bashing is not new in cricket. Many batsmen view this as an opportunity to swell their batting average and make the most of the opportunity. Zimbabwe, who debuted in 1992, were not the strongest team but they were no pushovers either.

In fact, in this Test, before Akram battered them for 257 not out, Zimbabwe had trapped Pakistan as the hosts were six wickets down with a lead of almost 200 runs. At that time, Akram’s 257 was the highest Test score against Zimbabwe, surpassing Vinod Kambli who scored 227 against them at Delhi in 1993.

In 2003, Matthew Hayden pulverized a strong Zimbabwean bowling attack as he notched up the then world record score of 380. Six months later, Sangakkara scored 270 against Zimbabwe to put Akram’s 257 on the third spot.

#5 Highest score by a bowler with more than 300 Test wickets

Leicester v Pakistan
Wasim Akram took 916 international wickets - 414 in Tests and 502 in ODIs

Fred Trueman, the fiery Englishman — who was the first bowler to get 300 Test wickets — famously said that anyone who beats his tally will be “bloody” tired after beating it. Since Trueman, only 30 more bowlers have been able to cross the 300-wicket barrier in Tests so far.

The elite list features the famous all-rounder quartet - Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan. It also has few decent batsmen in Shaun Pollock, Daniel Vettori, R. Ashwin, etc. But it is Wasim Akram who holds the distinction.

Akram’s 257 is the highest score for anyone who has taken more than 300 Test wickets. In fact, except for Sir Ian Botham, Wasim Akram is the only one on the list to score a Test double century. Botham scored 208 against India at the Oval in 1982.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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