Akram: India is also a part of me

  • The ‘King of Swing’ is a special guest at Sharjah International Book Fair

Pakistani cricket legend Wassim Akram said that India is a part of him in many ways and that he misses going to the country. The ‘King of Swing’ was addressing a hall full of fans and sports enthusiasts on the final Thursday of the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

“Politics has its own place, but India is a part of me in so many ways. I miss the culture there, the food… my friends. I have taught a lot of Indian bowlers and we all share very good relations,” he said, to applause.

“You see, I am a sportsman and for me players across the world are just that, players. If someone asks me for bowling tips, I won’t ask their nationality, that is not my job. I will coach them regardless,” he added.

The cricket star and national pacer, who is considered one of the finest exponents of reverse-swing bowling ever, talked with the audience about the game, his fight with diabetes and his love for reading.

“I am amazed to see so many young readers, so many kids at SIBF. This shows that people are still interested in books. One thing that I really liked was the cookery show for kids – they were all shouting with excitement. It was amazing.”

Akram, who took time to tour the fair and purchased some books, said, “I enjoyed it because I like reading. I was like a kid in a candy shop.”

When asked if he was planning to write another book to follow his autobiography published in 1998, Akram said; “I really want to write something else because a lot of good things have happened since my retirement. My wife Shameera is motivating me to do it. I have to plan it – I don’t want to just write a book about dressing room gossip, I want to write a book that motivates others… a book where people can take inspiration from my life’s journey.”

Talking about the changes he has seen as a cricket celebrity in terms of technology, he said, “In my time we had autographs, now we have selfies. I still think autographs were better. Even I had an autograph book as a kid, I collected all the names of the cricket greats and that was so much fun.

Akram, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 30, is known for raising awareness about the condition in Pakistan and across the world.

“We lack awareness about diabetes -it is very important we raise more awareness to be able to fight it,” he said during the session.

Akram was one of the 393 guests from 48 countries taking part in SIBF 2017, which concludes today (Saturday) at Expo Centre Sharjah. Titled ‘A World in My Book,’ this year’s edition of the world’s third largest book fair saw the participation of 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries.