I was crying… We didn’t have an Indian visa: Wasim Akram
Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram has recollected an emotional tale from 2009, involving his wife Huma Akram, who died in a hospital in Chennai in October, after reportedly developing heart and kidney complications.
Sharing an anecdote, Akram said he was flying to Singapore and his wife was unconscious when the flight halted at the Chennai airport for scheduled refuelling. He revealed how the officials in Chennai helped him to take his wife to the hospital despite not having an Indian visa.
“I was flying to Singapore with my late wife and there was a stop in Chennai for refuelling. When landed, she was unconscious, I was crying and people recognised me at the airport. We didn’t have an Indian visa. We both had Pakistani passports,” Akram told Sportstar magazine during a discussion on his autobiography Sultan: A Memoir.
“The people at the Chennai airport, the security forces, and the customs and immigration officials told me not to worry about the visa and take my wife to the hospital while they sort the visa out. That is something I will never forget, as a cricketer and as a human being,” he revealed.
He also took a walk down memory lane of the 1999 Chennai Test.
“The Chennai Test is very special to me… It was very hot and the pitch was bare, which suited us because we relied on reverse-swing. We also had one of the best spinners at the time in Saqlain Mushtaq. Nobody could pick the doosra delivery that he had invented at the time.
“Sachin (Tendulkar) played him well after the first innings. Every time he bowled the doosra, Sachin went for the lap shot just behind the ‘keeper. A very odd shot to play against the off-spinners doosra but he mastered it and that’s why Sachin was one of the greatest of all time,” he said.
Akram, popularly known as the Sultan of Swing, made his debut in 1984, he has played 104 Tests, 356 ODIs picking up 926 wickets in 460 matches across formats.
The 1992 World Cup winner announced his retirement from ODIs after the 2003 World Cup. He wrapped up his Test cricket career in 2002.