Born November 1, 1968 in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Mohammad Akram Hussain Khan is a former Bangladesh batsman who captained their ODI team between 1995-1998. During that time Bangladesh didn’t have Test status. Akram’s Test and ODI record is nothing spectacular but compared to his peers in the then side; he was inarguably one of their best. Quite handy in the middle overs, he was good at playing spin. He took over as the national selector of Bangladesh after retirement in 2007. He then rose to become the chief selector in 2011. He resigned later but withdrew his resignation in March 2012. On his 47th birthday, Bhaskar Narayan takes a look at nine interesting facts about the cricketer.
1. Born on the last leap year before Bangladesh Independence: 1968, which happens to be Akram’s year of birth was also the last leap year before Bangladesh’s independence. He was two years, four months and 25 days old when the nation of Bangladesh was created on 25 March, 1971.
2. Cricketing family: Akram’s family was supportive and encouraging when it came to playing sports. Two of his nephews have played cricket for Bangladesh. Elder of the two ― Nafees Iqbal played for Bangladesh between 2003-06. Nafees was born on October 31, a day earlier than his uncle Akram. Younger nephew Tamim has tasted more success and is a mainstay in current Bangladesh Test and ODI team.
3. Club cricket: Akram played for Bangladesh Railways, a Chittagong club. From there he climbed up the ladder and started playing for Abahani, which is the creme de la creme club of Bangladesh. He soon received a national call after joining Abahani.
4. Football vs Cricket: When Akram debuted in 1988 and then football was the more popular sport in Bangladesh. It was only after 1997 when Bangladesh won the ICC Qualifier for 1999 World Cup that cricket started getting more acceptance in Bangladesh.
5. Captained Bangladesh to its first ODI win: Akram was Bangladesh’s skipper in the Coca-Cola triangular series between India, Bangladesh and Kenya. Leading from the front, Akram made 39 off just 51 balls in the second match of the tournament to help chase down Kenya’s 236 with two overs to spare. This was Bangladesh’s first ODI win.
6. Calsberg ICC Trophy 1997: Akram scored a brilliant 68 in the quarter-finals of this trophy to take Bangladesh into the semi-finals where they defeated Scotland thereby qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999.
7. Helped Bangladesh upset Pakistan in ICC Cricket World Cup 1999: This was the first World Cup Bangladesh was part of and every Bangladeshi wanted the team to win against Pakistan, a country they gained independence from in 1971. Akram had also spoken before the cup that he wanted to beat Pakistan. He top-scored in the match with 42 and helped create one of the greatest upsets in cricket history.
8. Hit the first six in Bangladesh Test history: Akram hit the first six for Bangladesh in Test cricket in their very first Test. In this Test played against India, Akram struck a six en route his small 35-run knock in the first innings but his knock went in vain since Bangladesh lost the match by nine wickets. Bangladesh scored 400 in the first innings while India replied with 429. Bangladesh were then bundled out for 91 in their second innings and Indian batsmen Shiv Sunder Das and Rahul Dravid saw India home in the final innings.
9. Shares his birthday with former Bangladesh President: Akram shares his birthday with Bangladesh’s 13th President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury who was born 36 years earlier.
(Bhaskar Narayan is a reporter at CricketCountry and Criclife. He passionately follows the game and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. His Twitter handle is @Cricopathy)