Former cricketer Wasim Akram was one of the most successful bowlers of Pakistan. In his illustrious career, the left-arm pacer took 916 international wickets in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) together. Interestingly, he made his debut for the national team without playing first-class cricket.

In an interaction with ‘The Grade Cricketer’, Akram went down the memory lane and reminisced the phase of his life before debut for Pakistan. He shared how he wanted to join a cricket club in Pakistan but couldn’t afford to pay 100 rupees in Pakistani currency as fees.

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“I joined a club in Lahore after one of my neighbors, former first-class cricketer Khalid Mahmood, saw me playing. I told him I won’t be able to afford 100 rupees per month to join the club. He said, don’t worry they won’t charge you. Then, during a camp at the Gaddafi stadium, I bowled to Javed Miandad, who was coming out of injury. Javed bhai got very impressed,” recalled Akram.

Talking further, the 56-year-old shared that he impressed everyone with his performances in the matches organized by the club and then got the opportunity to play against the visiting New Zealand team in a first-class game in the 1984-85 season.

“Within a month, New Zealand arrived and my name was in the team to play the first-class game against them. The manager of the team gave me 3000 rupees. That was a lot of money for me. My dad used to give me 200 a month. In the first innings, I got 7/50 – I don’t know how!”

During the same New Zealand tour, Akram marked his debut in ODI on November 23, 1984 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad. When Pakistan toured New Zealand next year, he made his Test debut and picked two wickets. In only his second Test match, Akram was adjudged the Player of the Match as he picked fifer in both innings of the match.

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