Wasim Akram, who opened up about his post-retirement cocaine addiction in his autobiography, Sultan: A Memoir, has now revealed he was kept in rehab in Pakistan for two and a half months against his will. Akram, a former Pakistan captain and the country’s leading wicket-taker in both ODIs and Tests by some distance, developed an addiction to cocaine when he was in England after his retirement from international cricket. The legendary Pakistan fast bowler said he couldn’t socialise at any point without the drug and when his first wife Huma found out about his addiction, she suggested him to go to a rehab centre but that didn’t go according to plan.

“In England, somebody at a party said ‘you wanna try it?’ I was retired, I said ‘yea’h. Then one line became a gram. I came back to Pakistan. Nobody knew what it was but it was available. I realised, I couldn’t function without it, which means I couldn’t socialise without it. It got worse and worse. My kids were young. I was hurting my late wife a lot. We would have arguments. She said I need help. She said there’s a rehab, you can go there. I said alright I will go there for a month but they kept me there for two and a half months against my will. Apparently, that is illegal in the world but not in Pakistan. That didn’t help me. When I came out, a rebellion came into me. It’s my money, I stayed in that horrible place against my will,” Akram, arguably the greatest left-arm pacer cricket has ever seen, said in The Grade Cricketer podcast.

The 1992 World Cup winner said he had a very different idea about rehab centres but what he got in Pakistan was ‘horrible.’

“In western movies, even in Australia you see rehabs have lovely big lawns, people give lectures, you go to gym. But I went to a place (in Pakistan) with a corridor and eight rooms, that’s it. It was very very tough. It was a horrible time,” he added.

Akram also talked about how his life changed when his wife died and he had to take care of his two young boys.

“Then a tragedy happened, my wife passed away. I knew I was on the wrong path, I wanted to get out of it. I had two young boys. In Western culture, a dad is involved fifty-fifty (with the mother). You wake up in the morning, drop your child to the school, pick them up, and change clothes. In our culture, as a dad, we never do that. It’s the wife’s turn. Our job is to go out and raise funds. I was lost for two years. I never knew where I had to buy clothes for them. I didn’t know what they ate, I had to go to every class, and attend parent-teacher meetings. I had to be friendly with their friends’ parents. But I must say, every parent around my kids helped a lot.

“Then I moved to Karachi as my in-laws were there, stayed at a one-room apartment, and found a new school for the kids. After three-four years, my current wife, whom I met in Melbourne, took over but those two or three years in between were very tough,” the legendary cricketer added.

When asked to give advice to the younger generation so that they don’t go on the wrong path, Akram said one needs to choose their friends carefully.

“My advice to the young generation is to choose your company carefully. If your company is like that then you are bound to go the wrong way and very few manage to come out of that path. Make sure your friends have a good work ethic.”




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