He might have announced his retirement 14 years ago, but that hasn’t deterred him from sweating it out in the gym. At 52, Wasim Akram is among the fittest retired players. No wonder how Wasim managed to keep himself fit and play Cricket All-Stars in November 2015 in the USA. But very few people know that Wasim is a diabetes patient.
When he was at the peak of his career, he was diagnosed with diabetes. That really set him back and it took a lot of time for him to get over it mentally.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997. I was only 29 years old. I thought my life was gone — no more cricket. But, my wife gave me mental strength. It’s just mental discipline. Temptations are there. I feel like having biryani every night — naans and kulchas, and niharis. But I avoid it.” Wasim once said.
He had to make a lot of personal sacrifices to fight diabetes and prolong his cricket career. He reassessed his diet charts and stuck to them, not letting enticement get the better of him.
Back then he told an unknown source, “In Urdu-Hindi we say ‘kam khao to zindagi lambi jayegi’ (eat less and you’ll live longer). It’s a habit. For example, I don’t eat bread at night because there are more carbs in it. If I feel like it, I’ll have half a roti. I’ll have a chicken tikka, but I’ll have a massive bowl of salad.”
“And then I check my sugar levels. I’ve trained my mind. I love my steaks, but I just eat less, at home or otherwise. Before lunch, I eat a bowl of stir-fried vegetables so my stomach is more or less full. And then I’ll have a little of whatever else is there. So that’s the sort of technique I’ve used to train myself.”
Wasim went on to pick 200 more ODI wickets after being diagnosed with diabetes. He announced his retirement from international cricket in 2003. He finished with 414 test wickets and 503 ODI wickets.
Recently he was on vacation with his wife Shaniera in Bali. He still had switched on his workout mode and was spotted at the gym doing his training. She posted photos of Wasim working out and swimming on Twitter.
Wasim Akram’s first wife Huma Mufti died of multiple organ failures in Chennai on October 25, 2009. They had married in 1995 and have two sons Tahmoor and Akbar. Akram married Shaniera Thompson on 12 August 2013. Shaniera is an Australian and is 17 years younger than Wasim. Together they have a daughter Aiyla. Shaniera is the CEO of Akram foundation.
– by Atharva Apte