Promising young cricketer Wasim Akram Junior meets Pakistan legend and namesake at ILT20

LONDON: Wasim Akram Junior, a promising young cricketer living in the UAE, got to meet his namesake and idol this weekend: Pakistan bowling legend Wasim Akram.

Akram Junior, who plays for the International League T20 Thunderbolts in the league’s development tournament, recently bowled his way to figures of 6 for 21 and lapped up the opportunity to take advice from one of the game’s greatest ever pace bowlers.

“This is the first time I have met him. It was so great to meet the legend. I have been following him and his bowling for many years so that I can learn and become a good bowler, by God’s grace. I have met him now, and I will try my best to emulate him in whatever way I can,” he said.

“This opportunity has come to me now, here in the UAE, and I will grab it with both hands. I will try to learn as much as I can from him.

“Even 10 minutes spent with him is equivalent to a decade for me because I can learn a lot in that small amount of time and further work on it, and that will eventually be very beneficial for me as cricketer.”

The 28-year-old was named after the Pakistani cricketing icon by his father. “My father is a very big fan of Wasim Akram, and when I was born he named me after him. And as I grew up, I also started to look up to him and took after him, bowling left-arm pace and batting as a left-hander too,” Akram Junior said.

28-year-old Wasim Akram Junior (L) was named after the Pakistani cricketing icon (R) by his father. (Supplied)

“If I could learn any skill from him then it would have to be the out-swinger, because there are no words to describe how well he executed the out-swinger. If I can add that trick to my armory, it would be a boost to me as a bowler.

“And hopefully, if I can learn it well and produce good performances, the fans and the audiences might be reminded of the legend’s exploits.”

The conversation between the two involved technical pointers, with the 1992 World Cup winner praising the youngster and following it up with a word of advice and a promise to further help him out during a training session at the nets.

“I am impressed by Wasim’s talent; in fact, I saw his six-wicket spell (in the ILT20 Development Tournament 2023) on the internet and immediately noticed his pace and accuracy,” Akram said.

“I wish him the very best and if possible, on this tour, I will spend some time with him in the nets as well.”

Akram, also known as “The Sultan of Swing” during his playing days, is in the UAE for the DP World ILT20 season 2 as part of the commentary panel.