Former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram, in a shocking turn of events, has opened up about his struggles with cocaine addiction in his upcoming autobiography - ‘Sultan: A Memoir’. The book recalls how the left-arm swing bowler from Lahore first experienced dependence on drugs after he retired from International Cricket in 2003 and stopped their use after his wife Huma’s death in 2009.
Akram is known to be one of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket and he made his debut for Pakistan in 1984. He went on to represent Pakistan for the next 19 years and held a record for most wickets in ODIs (502), however, Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan broke his record in 2009. Interestingly, he was also regarded as the highest wicket-taker in the 1992 World Cup where Pakistan lifted the title for the first title.
Now, in his pre-published book, ESPN Cricinfo report quoted Akram speaking about his intimate life, loss and addiction in his new book.
The former left-arm pacer admitted to his addiction to cocaine following his retirement and also revealed that he underwent rehab but to no avail.
"I liked to indulge myself; I liked to party,” Akram writes. “The culture of fame in South Asia is all-consuming, seductive and corrupting. You can go to ten parties a night, and some do. And it took its toll on me. My devices turned into vices.”
He revealed his dependency on cocaine and how his addiction started burgeoning, making him volatile. He also shared that it made him deceptive.
Wasim Akram continues: "Worst of all, I developed a dependence on cocaine. It started innocuously enough when I was offered a line at a party in England; my use grew steadily more serious, to the point that I felt I needed it to function. It made me volatile. It made me deceptive.”
The 56-year-old also said that his wife was often by herself when he indulged himself with drugs and wished to move to Karachi to be near her family. However, Akram was ‘reluctant’ as he liked to travel alone, thanks to his newfound habit.
"Huma eventually found me out, discovering a packet of cocaine in my wallet,” Akram reveals in Sultan. “'You need help.' I agreed. It was getting out of hand. I couldn't control it. One line would become two, two would become four; four would become a gram, and a gram would become two. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I grew inattentive to my diabetes, which caused me headaches and mood swings. Like a lot of addicts, part of me welcomed discovery: the secrecy had been exhausting.”
However, rehab also did not work in his favour and the distressed former Pakistan Captian started doing drugs again during the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, “out from under Huma's daily scrutiny.”
The former fast-pacer also says that the cocaine use ended after his wife's death from the rare fungal infection mucormycosis in October 2009.
"Huma's last selfless, unconscious act was curing me of my drug problem. That way of life was over, and I have never looked back," Waism Akram writes.
Akram’s explosive confessions have sparked a widespread shock on social media, and have called him courageous.
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