Wasim Akram has opened up on his struggle with a cocaine addiction after his playing career ended, in his upcoming autobiography Sultan: A Memoir.Akram, Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in both Test and ODI cricket, retired in 2003 after an 18-year international career, but continued to travel the world on commentary and coaching assignments. The cocaine habit, he says, began after he retired, when he started to crave a “a substitute for the adrenaline rush of competition”, and ended after the death of his first wife Huma in 2009.
Extracts from his book, published alongside an interview in The Times, paint a frank picture of Akram’s slide into addiction.
“I liked to indulge myself; I liked to party,” he 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.
“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. Huma, I know, was often lonely in this time . . . she would talk of her desire to move to Karachi, to be nearer her parents and siblings. I was reluctant. Why? Partly because I liked going to Karachi on my own, pretending it was work when it was actually about partying, often for days at a time.
“Huma eventually found me out, discovering a packet of cocaine in my wallet . . . ‘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, 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.”
Akram went into rehab, finding the experience distressing – “The doctor was a complete con man, who worked primarily on manipulating families rather than treating patients, on separating relatives from money rather than users from drugs” – and ended up relapsing.
“Try as I might, part of me was still smouldering inside about the indignity of what I’d been put through. My pride was hurt, and the lure of my lifestyle remained. I briefly contemplated divorce. I settled for heading to the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy where, out from under Huma’s daily scrutiny, I started using again.”
Akram says the cocaine use ended after Huma’s death in October 2009 from the rare fungal infection mucormycosis.
“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.”
Akram has since remarried, and has three children – two sons from his first marriage and a daughter from his second. In his interview with The Times, he said he had written his book for his children.
“I’m a bit anxious about the book,” he said, “but I think once it is out, I’ll be kind of over it. I’m anxious because at my age, I’m 56 and I’ve been diabetic for 25 years, it is just stress, you know . . . it was tough to revisit all the things. I’ve done it for my two boys, who are 25 and 21, and my seven-year-old daughter, just to put my side of the story.” (ESPN)
Second Sri Lanka – Afghanistan ODI called off
By Rex Clementine
Heavy rain forced match officials to call off the second One-Day International between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday.Set a target of 229 runs to win, Sri Lanka had reached 10 for no loss in 1.4 overs when rains came down forcing the players indoors.
Rain didn’t stop and at 8:57pm local time play was called off. SLC said in a statement that the ground staff needed more than one hour to clear the covers due to the amount of water collected on the covers and weren’t able to start by 9:56 pm, the latest cut-off time.
Afghanistan lead the three-match series 1-0 having won the opening fixture on Friday by 60 runs.
The series is part of the World Cup Super League and the no result meant that both teams collected five points each. That means, Afghanistan are edging closer to automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup. They are at seventh in the table currently. Sri Lanka are in the danger zone placed at tenth position. Only eight teams earn automatic qualification for the sport’s showpiece event.
Afghanistan opted to bat first after winning the toss and half-centuries by Rahmanullah Gurbaz (68) and Rahmat Shah (58) helped them to post 228 all out in 48.2 overs. Mohammad Nabi chipped in with 41 off 34 balls with two fours and two sixes.
Sri Lanka’s bowling was wayward to start with, but they bounced back well claiming the last five wickets for 33 runs.Seamer Kasun Rajitha finished with career best bowling figures as he claimed three wickets for 31 runs in his nine overs, which included two maidens.
Maheesh Theekshana and Lahiru Kumara chipped in with two wickets each as Sri Lanka bowled out Afghanistan.The game was being played on the same surface as Friday’s game and there was quite a bit of purchase for the spinners and Sri Lanka would have faced a tough challenge during the run chase.
Gayana, Charuka, Anjala excel
Under 19 Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
A remarkable match saving effort by Gayana Weerasinghe for Maliyadeva and a match bag of ten wickets by Charuka Peiris to guide S. Thomas’ to their third outright victory of the season were among the highlights of the Under 19 traditional matches played over the weekend.
Weerasinghe stood out scoring unbeaten knocks in both innings to avoid defeat in the match against Royal. In reply to Royal’s 302 for seven wickets declared, Maliyadeva collapsed but Weerasinghe scored an unbeaten century (135 in 204 balls, 18x4s) to defy the home team at Reid Avenue. Following on, he was joined by Jayamin Muthukumarana (25), Chandupa Abeysinghe (24) and Amesh Tennakoone (40) to force a draw. In the second innings, Weerasinghe batted for 134 minutes and remained unbeaten on 61 runs (in 122 balls, 4x4s).
Peiris completed a match bag of ten wickets with a six wicket haul in the second innings as S. Thomas’ cruised to victory with a session remaining in the match. S. Thomas’ posted 289 runs in reply to Mahinda’s 101 runs and in their second essay the visitors were bowled out for 174 runs.
It was S. Thomas’ third outright victory of the season. In the match between St. Servatius’ and Mahamana the latter earned first innings honours as Anjala Bandara scored 126 runs for them to post 241 runs in reply to St. Servatius’ 126 runs.
St. Servatius’, Mahanama ends in draw
St. Servatius’ 126 all out in 42.3 overs (Kushan Wijerama 23, Chathum Bimsara 23, Thisan Dewmith 21n.o.; Duvindu Ranatunga 3/23, Dasith Gunathilake 3/36, Venuk Hettiarachchi 2/24, Omesh Udara 2/28) and 147 for 4 in 42 overs (Chamarindu Nethsara 41n.o., Mithila Charles 29, Denuwan Pramod 26, Diniru Sanushka 21, Vishwa Supun 21n.o.; Dasith Gunathilake 2/49).
Mahanama 241 all out in 72.3 overs (Anjala Bandara 126, Duvindu Ranatunga 36, Omesh Udara 35; Tharush Damindu 4/48, Thisan Dewmith 4/66)
St. Thomas’ beat Mahinda by an innings and 14 runs at Mount Lavinia
Mahinda 101 all out in 30.1 overs (Dhanuja Induwara 53; Nathan Caldera 5/27, Charuka Peiris 4/21) and 174 all out in 46 overs (Hiruna Gallege 40, Dinura Kalupahana 36, Chandupa de Silva 20, Shenuka Dangamuwa 29; Charuka Peiris 6/66, Akash Fernando 2/33, Nathan Caldera 2/32)
S. Thomas’ 289 all out in 69 overs (Thisen Eheliyagoda 40, Romesh Mendis 117, Senesh Hettiarachchi 72; Tharusha Dilshan 5/71, Sanuka Dangamuwa 3/51)
Maliyadeva force a draw after Royal enforce follow on at Reid Avenue
Royal 302 for 7 decl. in 77.2 overs (Ramiru Perera 85, Uvindu Weerasekara 60, Dasis Manchanayake 100n.o., Bulan Weeratunga 33; Gayana Weerasinghe 4/76, Charuka Herath 2/80)
Maliyadeva (52 for 3) 201 all out in 63.4 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 18, Chandupa Abeysinghe 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 135n.o.; Sandesh Ramanayake 2/60, Dasis Munchanayake 4/33) and 198 for 5 in 66 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 25, Chandupa Abeysinghe 24, Amesh Tennakoone 40, Chamod Sathsara 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 61n.o.; Menaka Heyyanthuduwa 2/28).
Dharmasoka and Nalanda settle for draw at Campbell Park
Nalanda 105 all out in 34.4 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 22, Kushmitha Silva 23; Pathum Malitha 2/19, Senitha Halambage 5/17) and 309 for 9 in 90.5 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 65, Kushmitha Silva 80, Eranga jayakody 90, Sajitha Vithanage 38, Sathmina Serasinghe 17n.o.; Chanaka Jananga 4/59, Senitha Halambage 4/100)
Dharmasoka (210 for 6) 238 all out in 78.5 overs (Manasa de Silva 39, Senitha Halambage 97, Chandupa Kavisha 27; Chanul Athukorale 2/43, Minod Caldera 3/71, Janula Indusara 3/12)
Trinity, St. Anthony’s clash for final spot
Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ Cricket
Arch rivals Trinity and St. Anthony’s Katugastota will clash in Colombo today to secure a final berth in the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament. Both teams have seen some of the leading teams in their respective groups in the first round being eliminated in the knockout stage and will be eager to last the full distance to earn the coveted title.
St. Anthony’s captained by Lahiru Abesinghe were able to eliminate one of the favourites to the title, Mahanama in their quarter-final match thanks largely to the heroics of their top order batsman Mohamed Aaqil. With the rest of the batting line up failing to impress, Aaqil scored a dogged knock of 80 runs to secure their semi-final berth. The team inclusive of a couple of Sri Lanka Under 19 players will be looking forward to avoid the mistakes in that department in the crucial encounter.
St. Anthony’s were the fourth placed team in Group ‘Y’ after they ended up with a card of just four victories and four defeats during the first round. St. Sebastian’s and Maliyadeva, who finished second and third respectively in their group, were eliminated early in the knockout stage. In the event of St. Anthony’s advancing to the final they will be meeting Richmond, the champions of their group in the first round.
Trinity skippered by Rahal Amarasinghe eliminated St. Sebastian’s in the quarter-final after advancing to that stage with a third place finish in their group in the first round. During the first round they recorded five victories in eight outings. Trinity have a number of players who were part of the Under 17 team adjudged the joint champions of the Under 17 tournament with St. Joseph’s. The experience of playing in that final where the scores were tied is likely to stand in good stead.
Trinity (from): Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijethunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Vathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage.
Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach), Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach), Bryan Senaratne (Master in Charge).
St. Anthony’s (from): Lahiru Abesinghe (Captain), Travin Mathew (Vice Captain), Mohommed Aaqil, K.S. Bandara, Thisara Ekanayake, Ravindu Kapukotuwa, Ryan Anthonys, Induwara Galapitage, Kaveesha Piyumal, Janith Rathnasiri, Charuka Ekanayake, Kevan Fernando, Januka. Rathnayake, Dasun Welanga, Ravindu Kasthuriarachchi, Nik Fonseka, Senura Abesekara, Dinura Ganegoda, Kaushika Kumarasinghe, Sanuka Kalpana.
Suneth Gunathilake (Head Coach), Priyantha Kumara (Asst. Coach), Lenin Jayasinghe (Master in Charge).
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