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Wasim Akram thanks cricket lovers in India and Pakistan on his 50th birthday

Ram Kumar
652   //    03 Jun 2016, 23:54 IST
Wasim Akram
Wasim cuts across international barriers due to his stellar career and graceful conduct

If sport could unite two nations, Wasim Akram is perhaps one of the finest examples. Amidst all the political animosity, Pakistan's legendary seamer is cherished and hailed by millions of cricket lovers in India too.

On the occasion of his 50th birthday, the ‘Sultan of Swing’ thanked his countless fans in both India and Pakistan for their heartfelt affection. Speaking to AFP, he also opened up on his magical journey and how cricket endeared him to the masses.

Wasim felt, “Cricket is a great leveler. It transformed my life from an ordinary boy to one who is loved in Pakistan and India by over 1.5 billion people and it’s incredible. Each day of my cricketing life and even now has been exemplary. I am what I am because of my fans across the world.”

The affable player revealed that his Australian wife Shaniera had joked about him entering into the 50s club. The former skipper enthused, “My wife told me 50 is the new 40. So, it’s enjoyable.”

Also Read: 5 Pakistan cricketers who are loved by Indians

Regarded unanimously as one of the greatest ever bowlers to grace the sport, Akram scalped 916 wickets from 460 international matches across both formats. He remains the only cricketer to pick up two hat-tricks in both Tests and ODIs.

One of the high points of his amazing career was the 1992 World Cup which Pakistan went on to win. Under the tutelage of the iconic Imran Khan, they were on the brink of elimination before rebounding to lift the trophy in Melbourne.

Wasim was named ‘Player of the Tournament’ for his 18 wickets from 10 games alongside blistering cameos with the bat. Chasing 250, England appeared to be cruising before the left-armer struck twice (in consecutive deliveries) to swing the match in Pakistan’s favor.

The stalwart affirmed, “It is a life in which dreams turned into reality. I never imagined this fame and success when I started my career and to have played so much and the team winning the World Cup is more than I had dreamed.”

The man who kept Diabetes at bay throughout his career also had a word of advice for emerging cricketers. Wasim asserted, “There are no short cuts to success. I tell every player in Pakistan or India that you have to work hard and only that can help you show your skills at the highest level. This is true for every field of life.”

When asked about if he had any regrets in his life, the veteran quipped, “People do make a lot of mistakes and I too have made some. But, I have no regrets in life and no complaints. My name is in cricket history books and will remain there and that’s a great pride for me.“

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