Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram has revealed that his Australia-born wife Shaniera Akram had no idea of who he was back when they met.
The 57-year-old played 104 Tests for Australia in which he picked up 414 wickets besides wearing the green Pakistan jersey in ODIs for 356 games, ending his career with an astonishing 502 wickets.
But Shaniera, who was a social worked back home in Australia when the duo met at a barbecue party, had no idea of Akram’s fame.
“I met her when she was about 26 or 27 years old at a friend’s barbecue. She didn’t know who I was. I said, ‘I’m kind of a big deal back home’. She replied, ‘yeah, right!’” he revealed popular talk show, The Front Bar.
Akram said that she believed that he must be a popular person only when he went to drop her off at a taxi stand, and got recognised.
“The taxi guys were Pakistanis or Indians. So they recognised me! They started running towards me. Then she realised! Who’s laughing now?” said Akram.
Akram also spoke about getting sledged by Australian fans during Pakistan’s games.
“I learnt three-four words straight away. There was an infamous stand at the Gabba, called Bay 13. They were shouting something at me for half an hour, I thought they were praising me. They weren’t! The captain of Pakistan back then told me the meaning of the words they were shouting at me. They were chanting, ‘Wasim is a w****r’”
Wasim also opened up about the time he sledged the legendary Viv Richards in the 3rd Test in Barbados during the 1998 series.
He had just bowled a bouncer at Richards in the last over of the day. The Caribbean player’s cap fell off as he ducked out of line of the ball.
“You realise as a bowler that you’ve got some pace. So I bowled the bouncer, his cap fell off. Big deal! Back then, I only knew two bad words. I said them both to Richards. He said, ‘don’t swear at me. I’ll kill you!’ I thought it was a figure of speech! I went to Imran Khan at mid-on and told him that Viv was threatening to kill me. He said, ‘don’t worry. I’m with you.’ He asked me to bowl him another bouncer. I did. On the last ball of the over, I got an inside edge off him and the ball hit the stumps. I danced in front of Richards. I was a young kid, barely 20 years old. I was taking off my shoes when the attendant told me someone wanted to see me outside. So with one shoe on, I looked outside and saw Viv standing there without a shirt on, a bat in his hand, pads still on. I got scared, I thought he would literally kill me. I ran to Imran and told him Viv was outside and wants to fight. He said, ‘Go, fight! This is your fight!”