Wasim Akram was the first cricketer to bag 500 ODI wickets © Getty Images
Wasim Akram was the first cricketer to bag 500 ODI wickets © Getty Images

For a person who loves cricket, the time machine would have been the perfect invention that science could have pulled off. For an instance, if one is reading about the period when the first cricket match took place, a want of spectating the same thing might arise. Thanks to mankind and the way the race utilises grey matter, if not as big an innovation as time machine, internet is a very common entity in the lives of all modern-day people. Of course, it will not be the same as watching it live. Internet quenches one’s thirst to experience some part of an incident that took place way before one’s birth. Cricket, thanks to technology, has moved on to the era of video footage. READ: Happy birthday, Wasim Akram: Pakistani cricket legend turns 50

The willow is the biggest tool on field. For a kid, hitting the ball as hard as he can comes as the most attractive action. However, the father of the girl in the story always used to push her to value the role of the bowlers. The name she heard most was that of Wasim Akram. He would go on praising the ‘best thing Pakistan has ever done to cricket’, and would name random years, including 1992 World Cup and his role in taking Pakistan to the attain the ultimate glory in cricket.

As she grew older, she would find cricket among her most favourite things. As she started taking interest in the game, she started knowing about yesteryear stars, of different kinds of bowlers, of pacers and spinners, of greats in the respective genres. She could see Muttiah Muralitharan spinning the ball miraculously. Her father kept repeating, “Murali among spinners and Akram among pacers — best in the business.”

Of course, she was too young to understand Wasim. Her first memory of Wasim was of a random newsflash during ICC World Cup 2003: ‘Wasim Akram becomes the first cricketer to bag 500 ODI wickets’. It was the first big tournament she watched with reasonable knowledge of the sport. Her dad went on, “I knew it. He was to create many records.”

Eventually, after gaining access to internet for the first time, apart from searching for random things like ‘Real alien on Earth’, ‘Real ghost videos’, ‘Five biggest cakes in the world’, it struck her that  a search on Wasim Akram — the cricketer she had heard of the most — should be Googled.

As she hit the enter button, she entered a whole new world of unthinkable deliveries. She knew Wasim was the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), she knew the legend had many wickets to his name, that he is a phenomenal left-arm pacer and that she must watch this man’s bowling action to know cricket completely.

Years have passed by, but the experience of watching Akram’s double swing to Robert Croft still feels as thrilling and mysterious as the first time.

The unplayable deliveries during the 1992 World Cup, Sultan of Swing’s excitement after picking up the second hat-trick in Test — it all seems to be fresh, firsthand. It does not matter if he hailed from another team, even arch rivals: the joy of true cricket overshadows everything.

Love comes in many forms, like the girl fell in love with the reverse swing of her father’s most favourite bowler — Wasim Akram.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)