Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Updated: Saturday, March 01, 2003
Akram Khan

F Waliullah
Akram Khan, the ICC winning captain of Bangladesh, will officially retire from International Cricket from 12th May, 2003. He is a crowd puller with the bat and a match winner in ICC tournaments. Born on 1st of November, 1968, in Chittagong, his memorable innings was when he single handedly took Bangladesh into the semi final of the 1997 ICC trophy by scoring an unbeaten 68 off 92 balls against Netherlands when Bangladesh's chance for going into the semi final seemed to be out of reach with 4 specialist batsman getting out to reach a target of 141 set by Netherland's batsman under Duckworth-Lewis Method in a rain-interrupted match.

His other major contributions were when Bangladesh beat Kenya to win the maiden ODI victory and when Bangladesh beat Pakistan to win first time ever against a test playing nation. Under him, Bangladesh had beaten India 'A' team in SAARC trophy once, Bangladesh became the ICC champion in 1997. Also Bangladesh's first ODI victory against Kenya came under his captaincy.

But before being the Bangladesh captain, his contribution as a player is also huge. As a player, he has scored 976 runs in 44 One Day Internationals including 5 fifties at a batting average of 23.23 with the strike rate of 56.71. He took 8 catches in One Day Internationals. Unfortunately and he also regrets that he does not have a test fifty under his belt. He has scored 259 runs in 16 test innings with the highest of 44 runs against Zimbabwe in 2001 at an average of 16.18. He took 3 catches for Bangladesh in 8 test matches.

His last and the 3rd catch in test matches was a spectacular one and he showed that although he is a big man in appearance, he could still compete with the youngsters in the team at his age. His last innings for Bangladesh also showed that he has a big heart by scoring 23 runs off 23 balls and it was the 'most entertaining' innings of the day. It is surprising that he is retiring as a hero with the bat, but when he first came into the Bangladesh national side, he was included as a medium-pacer all rounder in the team. He bowled 19.3 overs with his right arm medium action. But like most of the medium pacers of Bangladesh, he was not able to show his talent with the ball due to the dry conditions of the subcontinent. The last time that he bowled, he was smashed for 20 odd runs in a single over while Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lankan master blaster was on strike.

His last One Day International match was against South Africa in the 2nd match of 2003 TVs Cup. And he played his last test match against South Africa in the 2nd test of the Grameen Phone Test series at Dhaka in the year 2003. He skippered Bangladesh team in 15 One Day Internationals. He is also the leading run scorer for Bangladesh in one-day internationals. At one stage, he was the only batsman to have scored more one day fifties than any other Bangladeshi batsman. Now Habibul Bashar holds that record. In one profile of Bangladesh Cricinfo, he is said to be "a powerful hitter of the ball and he also possesses very good timing and a good technique".

His memorable innings besides those have been mentioned earlier are during Asia Cup 2000 when he scored 64 runs at more than run a ball with Naimur Rahman and scored nearly 100 runs in the last ten overs against India. According to another profile of him at Test of Akram Khan is "a burly middle order batsman who uses his physical bulk to hit the ball hard rather than relying too much on technique. He is also capable of batting more circumspectly where circumstances demand; battled staunchly for an unbeaten 10 off 60 deliveries in Bangladesh's third disastrous one-dayer against a South African Invitation XI in October 2000 when the team was skittled out for 57".

At one stage of his International career, he was able to stretch his one day average to 25.13 (after 16 ODIs) and then he managed to have a highest batting average of 23.50 (after 3 tests) in test match cricket while he was at his prime. When he was at his prime and also the captain of the team, he and his teammate and the vice captain Aminul Islam were known as the most dependable batsman for Bangladesh.

Akram Khan played in 24 ICC trophy matches. He scored 476 runs in 20 innings at a batting average of 36.61 including 3 fifties. His highest in ICC trophy matches is 68*. He took 10 wickets with the best of 2 wickets for the loss of 10 runs. His bowling average is 18.70, strike rate is 33.2 and an economy rate is 3.37. He took 8 catches as a fielder. He played in his first ICC trophy match against Kenya in 1990 at Amsterdam, Holland. He scored an unbeaten 39 and virtually won the match for Bangladesh coming down at the order at number seven. He bowled 4 overs for 12 runs and took the wicket of B Shah of Kenya. His other major contributions with the bat in ICC tournaments were 42* against Fiji, 50 against Denmark, 26* against Canada, 64* against USA in 1994 ICC trophy, 39 against Malaysia in 1997 ICC trophy, 25* against Hong Kong, 68* against Netherlands and 22(27) against Kenya in the ICC 1997 trophy final.

Akram Khan was adjudged Man of the Match twice in his career in ICC tournaments. The first time he was man of the match, was during 1994 ICC trophy when he was the top scorer for Bangladesh with an unbeaten 64 coming in at number seven. And we all know about the time when he was adjudged man of the match the second time - it was when he scored an unbeaten 68 runs off 92 balls - the most matured match winning innings played by Akram Khan under pressure at the time when it was most needed.

He played his first One Day International for Bangladesh against Pakistan at Chittagong in 1988 Asia Cup. On his debut One Day match, he scored an unbeaten 21 against Pakistan on 29th October. Some big scores of Akram Khan with the bat in One Day Internationals are 33 against New Zealand, 24 against India, 24 against Sri Lanka, 44 against Pakistan, 59 against Pakistan, 32(40) against Sri Lanka, 59 against Zimbabwe, 36(51) and 23(36) against Kenya, 22(37) against Zimbabwe, 65(109) against Kenya, 50*(44), 41 against Sri Lanka, 64(52) against India.

He played in 7 World Cup matches. His scores in the 2 world cups are - 16(33), 4(19), 0(14), 0(7), 42(66), 13(38) and 44(60). His 42 off 66 balls against Pakistan has contributed in winning the first ODI match against a test playing nation and his last 44 off 66 balls against Kenya was a fight back on the part of Bangladesh that ended a nightmarish world cup tournament for Bangladesh.

He played his first Test match for Bangladesh against India in the inaugural test match of Bangladesh in 2000 when he scored 35 off 65 balls. Some of his big scores in test match cricket are 21(33), 44(121), 31(90) against Zimbabwe, 20(78) against Sri Lanka.

Since his debut for Bangladesh National Team in 1988, he played for about 15 years. From 1988 to 2000, he was never dropped from the national team except for injuries. In 1988, he had to quit from his Captaincy because of Bangladesh team's poor performance in 1998 Common Wealth Games in Malaysia. In his last 3 years, he had to battle for his place with the youngsters coming into the team. But he never gave up. He had always returned with his performance. The first time he was dropped in 2000 during West Indies tour of Bangladesh, he proved his worth by beating the West Indies 'A' team in a 3 match one day series playing for Bangladesh 'A' team. The second time he was dropped, he returned after some brilliant performances with the bat Busta Cup for Bangladesh 'A' during January 2002. And then again he was dropped after only one test match, and he returned to the Bangladesh team in place of injured Mashrafee Bin Murtoza during World Cup 2003 after playing brilliantly for his domestic club team Abahani Limited.

And now he has decided to leave the cricket field for Bangladesh due to his responsibilities to his family and to his business in Chittagong. He wants to continue playing for Abahani Limited, his most favorite team in domestic cricket for a few more years.