Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is widely regarded as one of the fastest bowlers in the game. Akram, who made his debut for Pakistan in 1984, represented the country for the next 19 years and held the record for most runs in ODIs (502) before Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan overtook him in 2009. Akram represented Pakistan in Tests. 104 matches, 414 wickets with 25 five wickets to his name. The former left-arm bowler was the highest wicket-taker in the 1992 World Cup when Pakistan won its maiden title.
While Akram has retired as one of the legends in Pakistan cricket, the former cricketer has now made a big revelation about a very dark period in his post-playing career. Akram, now 56, has admitted to being addicted to cocaine after retiring and also said he has been in rehab but to no avail.
“I liked to entertain myself; I loved the party,” Akram writes in his upcoming book, “Sultan: a memory’, as quoted times.co.uk.
“The culture of fame in South Asia is all-consuming, seductive and destructive. You can go to ten parties a night, and some do. And it took its toll on me. My devices have gone bad.
“The worst part was that I became addicted to cocaine. It started harmlessly enough when I was offered the line at a party in England; My usage was steadily getting more serious, so I felt I had to work on it,” Akram said.
Akram said his addiction had reached the point where he used to secretly go to parties in Karachi. “I know Huma (Akram’s wife at the time), who was often lonely at the time, said she wanted to move to Karachi and be closer to her parents and siblings. I was reluctant.
“Why? Partly because I enjoyed visiting Karachi on my own, it actually felt like work when I visited in the evenings, often for days at a time,” said Akram.
Talking further about his drug addiction, Akram says that his addiction to cocaine worsened over time.
“Finally, Huma found me in my purse with a bag of cocaine. . . ‘You need help.’ I agreed. It was getting out of hand. I couldn’t control it. One line would become two, two would become four; becomes four grams, grams become two. I couldn’t sleep. I could not eat. I was neglecting my diabetes which was causing my headaches and mood swings. Like many addicts, a part of me welcomed the news: keeping the secret was exhausting,” Akram wrote.
He also revealed that the rehabilitation in Lahore did not work, instead it was an even more painful experience. She said the doctor focused on “managing the family, not treating the patients,” and said she returned to her old routine after leaving the intensive care unit.
Eventually, Huma’s tragic death from a rare fungal infection changed everything for Akram. “Huma’s last selfless, unconscious act cured me of my drug problem. That way of life passed, I never looked back,” says Akram.