Wasim Akram, former Pakistan captain turned commentator, turned 50 on Friday. Akram made his one day international debut in November 1984 against New Zealand in Faisalbad. The left-handed swing bowler was soon drawn into the Test side as well in January 1985 against the same opposition. He played an active role in Pakistan lifting the 1992 World Cup in Australia under the stewardship of Imran Khan. Wasim has been known for his various impeccable performances with the ball. He picked up four hat-tricks in his international career, two apiece in Tests and ODIs. Akram’s first showcase of his abilities on the international scene came in 1989 when the left-arm quickie picked a hat-trick against West Indies in an ODI. The likes of Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshal and Curtly Ambrose were in the tally of his consecutive dismissals. Pakistan later rode on Wasim Akram’s five-for to register a 11-run win.
Wasim Akram then picked another ODI hat-trick against Australia in 1990. He dismissed Merv Hughes, Carl Rackemann and Terry Alderman in Austral-Asia Cup final. Pakistan won that match by 36 runs.
The wait for a Test hat-trick was a bit longer though. Akram claimed his first Test hat-trick in 1999 Asian Test Championship when he first picked up centurion Romesh Kaluwitharna and then dismissed Niroshan Bandaratilleke and Pramodya Wickramasinghe on consecutive deliveries. He picked a total of five wickets with the match ending in a draw.
Wasim Akram’s second Test hat-trick couldn’t have come on a better occasion. It was the final of the 1999 Asian Test Championship. Pakistan put up a mammoth total of 594 runs on the board in their first innings and took a massive lead of 363 runs. Akram ripped apart the Sri Lankan batting line up as he went on to produce a hat-trick in this innings. He first dismissed Avishka Gunawardene then cleaned up Chaminda Vaas and finally sent back Mahela Jayawardene. Pakistan won the match and the final by an innings and 175 runs.
The flamboyant left-hand bowler was also known for his yorkers and his bowling partnership with Waqar Younis.