Sriram Veera at the 2010 Bangladesh tri-series January 6, 2010

Still swelling with pride

Luckily, he hadn't changed much
102

It's nice when people match the image you have in mind. Former Bangladesh captain Akram Khan threw up the images of a burly person lofting the spinners down the ground. Luckily, time has a way of making you forget the less memorable facets and Akram certainly was no great batsman; he didn't have a great technique and wasn't too comfortable against pace. He had a slightly odd stance and yet his physique, coupled with his captaincy and most importantly, his involvement with some of special moments in Bangladesh cricket history, had left one looking forward to a meeting with the man.

Luckily, he hadn't changed much. He was still burly, the moustache slightly more trimmed, the mop of hair still intact, and he spoke softly with a gentle smile occasionally creasing his happy face. He is currently a national selector, but it was the past that was more interesting.

We rewound to 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia, which was the turning point in Bangladesh cricket. Bangladesh gained Test and ODI status after the triumphant campaign - a nation went mad, cricket toppled football as the No. 1 sport in the country, and they got an opportunity to play in the next World Cup.

Akram, who was the captain then, played a fine hand in an important game against Holland to lead Bangladesh to final; they were hopping at 15 for 4 when Akram hit a an unbeaten 68 to clinch a three-wicket win. He simply smiles when you talk about it, instead preferring to talk about the celebrations when they came back to Bangladesh.

"There were 100,000 people," Akram said before repeating, "Hundred thousand people". "We went in an open-bus parade from the airport to the parliament and there were all these people cheering for us. It's a feeling that I can't describe even now. We got money, free TVs and what not."

It was a far cry from his early days in Chittagong. Akram used to play football with his brother in the rainy season and play cricket in the winter. There used to be occasional glimpses of cricket - 15-minute packages on TV from the Sharjah games. There weren't many heroes but he found that he liked hitting the ball hard and the money, in club cricket, wasn't bad. He came to Dhaka to play the league and ended up playing for country not long after. Akram lurched from one eventful moment to another in Bangladesh cricket from then on.

Who can forget his role as a captain and top scorer in the 1999 World Cup win against Pakistan. "We just wanted to play the full 50 overs before we went out to bat," he said. Bangladesh weren't thinking about winning those days, unlike the current lot, who think about victory, he said. Akram hit 42 and Bangladesh ended up on 223 before chaos and controversy erupted when Pakistan collapsed to 43 for 5 in 12.3 overs.

Saeed Anwar's run-out was the moment that gave Bangladesh a strange belief that something special can happen that day, said Akram. Suddenly the pressure had got to Pakistan and their beleaguered captain Wasim Akram, who came out to bat.

"You could feel the tension and the pressure they were facing," Akram said. "Wasim, who is a very good friend to me, told me that, 'If we lose, everyone will say that we have taken money to lose the game."

"They were under so much pressure. I know there was a lot of talk about the match being fixed but for all I know, and my team, we played well to win. No one can take that away from us."

For a brief little moment, he transforms into a man wary of losing his dignity. As we fell silent, luckily, the grim moment passed and he quickly recovered to throw one more anecdote. "There was a bowler called Rahul [Niamur Rashid, the medium-pacer and the only Bangladeshi bowler that day to not pick up a wicket] and he was appealing for every ball. Wasim called me and said, 'Akram usko mana karo, har ball appeal kar raha hai! Out de diya to aadmi samjhega... [stop him, he is appealing every ball! If the umpire gives out then people will think...' I just laughed. I didn't say anything to Rahul."

Needless to say, though there weren't open-bus cavalcades this time around, the players were gifted loads of cash and prizes after that special victory.

Unfortunately, Akram was also there on the field on that fateful day when Raman Lamba, the Indian cricketer and his friend, died after a fatal blow to the head, while standing at short leg. "It was the last ball before drinks break and I told Raman bhai to move to short leg and asked him, 'Aren't you getting a helmet?' He said, 'I have been fielding at silly point for the last 15 years without any helmet. Forget it, just one ball, let's apply pressure on the batsman.'"

It was a gentle tossed-up delivery and Mehrab Hossain [Akram doesn't take the name, just says "batsman"] crashed one straight at the temple. Lamba went down in pain and the ball was hit so hard that it actually lobbed to keeper for a catch. Lamba got up, had drinks, and even fielded for 15 more minutes before he swayed across to his captain Akram and said, "I am not feeling well, I think I should leave."

"I told him, you go Raman bhai, I will take care here," Akram said.

Later, there was to be one more final meeting between the two friends in the hospital. "I asked him [Lamba] whether he was hungry and then we ordered a soup from a Chinese restaurant," Akram continued. "He was sipping it when he began to vomit violently and he...it was so sad. He was a great senior figure to us, some one who taught us finer points of the game. I remember, he would say, 'don't hit a bad bowler too much at the same time as he would be taken off the attack. Make sure you milk him'. Small little things like that we weren't aware of. He helped us become more professional."

During the course of conversation, you find that Akram is never shy of speaking the truth about himself and the older generation of cricketers. "Oh, we were never mentally tough you know, like the current lot," Akram said. "We were in awe of India and Pakistan and to do well against them was something great. It's really nice to see the current players are so much so mentally stronger than us." He also mentions how some one with his physique would find it really difficult to get selected today.

These days, he isn't just a selector but he also owns a fleet of buses, called Silk Line, operating between Dhaka and Chittagong. The idea came during a chat with his friend and current partner, a former football captain of Bangladesh.

I ask him whether he has taken the bus along with his 97 ICC Trophy winning team-mates just to recap that glorious day in Bangladesh history. He simply smiles.

Sriram Veera is a former staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dilan on September 9, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    Bangladesh will play against India in conmig month, as per previous schedule which was deferred by India earlier:India in Bangladesh Cricket Series 20071. Thursday, 10 May 2007: First ODI at Mirpur 2. Saturday, 12 May 2007: Second ODI at Mirpur 3. Tuesday, 15 May 2007: Third ODI at Chittagong 4. Friday, 18 May 2007 Tuesday, 22 May 2007: First Test at Chittagong 5. Friday, 25 May 2007 Tuesday, 29 May 2007: Second Test at Mirpur When it is not World Cup the teams are set to play as per the ICC's approved and Bangladesh's agreed' number of ODIs as well as Test matches. There is a full booking for such engagement' for each of the ICC Member countries.

  • forexbroker on September 4, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Italy. Every country in succession has now allowed the exploration of 28:1. And when we had escaped, then we knew that the island was called ships.

  • golam aurup on January 21, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket was played by this man-- against holland in the ICC cup.

    It can only be surpassed if Bangladesh ever wins the world cup...

    Long live Akram Khan... thanks to cricinfo for the article... if you can catch Athar Ali Khan... it would be nice... he was ahead a full generation...

  • Khan Ishraq on January 21, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Sriram is definitely an entertaining writer

  • Hanz on January 10, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Thank you so much for the article.

  • Hasan-Shahid on January 9, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    I can remember those days when I was listening to the radio commentary and it was the ICC Trophy 1997. What a match it was against Holland and Akram played the innings of a lifetime! That innings saved the Bangladesh cricket and the World got a cricketing nation. I think it was the birth of us. Salute you Akram.

  • Manzoor Chaudhury on January 9, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    Great article.

    Akram may lack techniques and athleticism, but he had legendary mental toughness.

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:20 GMT

    As for the Lamba incident, back then I had thought it had messed up Mehrab Hossain more than anyone else. That may have been the start to his decline, but then again one can't really hold that as an excuse for his other off-the-field actions that have led to the end of his international career.

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Then we lost 4 wickets for 15 and the dreams of watching the team in the '99 WC were quickly fading away. The heavens opened up and I was pretty distressed and decided to take a nap. I woke up to the loud cheers of my old man in the next room. The game had resumed after the rain Gods had calmed down and Akram Khan had given us a shot to get to the World Cup for the first time in history.

    Shortly after the ICC trophy (which we eventually went on to win), the team was at a dinner party right before the Asia Cup where a journalist was pretty freaked out watching Akram devour fried chicken piece after fried chicken piece. She went up to him to voice her concerns by asking him not to eat so much, to which a nonchalant Akram calmly responded with something in the lines of "Don't worry, we are very confident and will definitely try to do our best in the tournament".

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    That 69* came on a day that couldn't have gone any better for me. I had won an Art competition where I was the oldest kid in my group by miles and had done an awful job (one of my worst pieces of work) because I was too keen on getting it over with so that I could go back to listening to the game on radio. Even when I was receiving my prize from my childhood hero Baker bhai after having beaten up kids half my size, I was thinking of the game. My old man was listening to the radio outside and informed me that the Dutch had put up one eighty something. I flinched, because I got the feeling we wouldn't be able to make it. Back then, 180 against Holland was too much to ask for most of the time.

  • Dilan on September 9, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    Bangladesh will play against India in conmig month, as per previous schedule which was deferred by India earlier:India in Bangladesh Cricket Series 20071. Thursday, 10 May 2007: First ODI at Mirpur 2. Saturday, 12 May 2007: Second ODI at Mirpur 3. Tuesday, 15 May 2007: Third ODI at Chittagong 4. Friday, 18 May 2007 Tuesday, 22 May 2007: First Test at Chittagong 5. Friday, 25 May 2007 Tuesday, 29 May 2007: Second Test at Mirpur When it is not World Cup the teams are set to play as per the ICC's approved and Bangladesh's agreed' number of ODIs as well as Test matches. There is a full booking for such engagement' for each of the ICC Member countries.

  • forexbroker on September 4, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Italy. Every country in succession has now allowed the exploration of 28:1. And when we had escaped, then we knew that the island was called ships.

  • golam aurup on January 21, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket was played by this man-- against holland in the ICC cup.

    It can only be surpassed if Bangladesh ever wins the world cup...

    Long live Akram Khan... thanks to cricinfo for the article... if you can catch Athar Ali Khan... it would be nice... he was ahead a full generation...

  • Khan Ishraq on January 21, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Sriram is definitely an entertaining writer

  • Hanz on January 10, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Thank you so much for the article.

  • Hasan-Shahid on January 9, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    I can remember those days when I was listening to the radio commentary and it was the ICC Trophy 1997. What a match it was against Holland and Akram played the innings of a lifetime! That innings saved the Bangladesh cricket and the World got a cricketing nation. I think it was the birth of us. Salute you Akram.

  • Manzoor Chaudhury on January 9, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    Great article.

    Akram may lack techniques and athleticism, but he had legendary mental toughness.

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:20 GMT

    As for the Lamba incident, back then I had thought it had messed up Mehrab Hossain more than anyone else. That may have been the start to his decline, but then again one can't really hold that as an excuse for his other off-the-field actions that have led to the end of his international career.

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Then we lost 4 wickets for 15 and the dreams of watching the team in the '99 WC were quickly fading away. The heavens opened up and I was pretty distressed and decided to take a nap. I woke up to the loud cheers of my old man in the next room. The game had resumed after the rain Gods had calmed down and Akram Khan had given us a shot to get to the World Cup for the first time in history.

    Shortly after the ICC trophy (which we eventually went on to win), the team was at a dinner party right before the Asia Cup where a journalist was pretty freaked out watching Akram devour fried chicken piece after fried chicken piece. She went up to him to voice her concerns by asking him not to eat so much, to which a nonchalant Akram calmly responded with something in the lines of "Don't worry, we are very confident and will definitely try to do our best in the tournament".

  • Asif Rahman on January 9, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    That 69* came on a day that couldn't have gone any better for me. I had won an Art competition where I was the oldest kid in my group by miles and had done an awful job (one of my worst pieces of work) because I was too keen on getting it over with so that I could go back to listening to the game on radio. Even when I was receiving my prize from my childhood hero Baker bhai after having beaten up kids half my size, I was thinking of the game. My old man was listening to the radio outside and informed me that the Dutch had put up one eighty something. I flinched, because I got the feeling we wouldn't be able to make it. Back then, 180 against Holland was too much to ask for most of the time.

  • Tunku Varadarajan on January 8, 2010, 14:47 GMT

    Lovely piece. There's been way too much on India & Indian cricket on Cricinfo, so it's nice to see an in-depth look at Bangladesh, for a change. I'm an India fan -- no questioon about it -- but as a cricket-lover, I want to read about the other sides, too.

    Bravo, Sriram.

  • dipu on January 8, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Akram bhai is our all time cricket hero...One Big salut for him. Good luck to BD cricket team.

  • Architect Chowdhury Fazle Bari on January 8, 2010, 5:36 GMT

    While I was in St. Kitts /West indies in 2004, Akram Khan was the Captain of Bangladesh II team who were touring West Indies. As only Bangladeshi family living in that country we became familiar with Akram Khan and his team by mutual visiting hotel and residence and watching 4days match.He was wonderful, pleasant and dedicated cricketer. We were really astonished to see the feelings of Akram to the nation. Akram we miss you.Many thanks Sriram Veerat for writing this woderfulo diary.

  • Rahul on January 8, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    I was lucky to see Akram Khan innings against Holland. Even though I am an Indian, I really enjoyed knock of his and made me a fan of the guy. Thanks Sriram for writing this brilliant article... Although you have to feel for Raman Lamba.. Gives us a lesson that safety should be the first priority while playing hardball Cricket...

  • Russell on January 8, 2010, 2:22 GMT

    Thanks a lot guys,for sharing the feelings and opinions.Thanks to Pakistani and Sri Lankan friends also for sharing and supporting Bangladesh.Well,in Japan,we all do play together.I used to manage one team named Bangladesh Tigers CC in Kanto (Greater Tokyo) League back in 2005. What I want to say is,it is mainly the Indian subcontinent guys who are keeping a very strong flow in the World Cricket. In almost every country's team you will find someone from this area,or someone originated from this area! I saw the BD match with India last night. The feeling I had is,ODI definition is changing a lot for sure,I mean even 400 runs are not even safe at all! Sriram Bhai,thanks a lot for the article.Please dig up and share more from Bangladeshi Cricket,I am sure you will find how crazy we Bangladeshis are about cricket nowadays. Now Cricket to us is what Soccer is to Brasil or Italy!!Please keep the spirits,we all are hoping more and more good and informative articles from you! Regards.

  • Sujan Rao on January 7, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    While telling about Raman Lamba, instead of writing the word "Taught", the author has written "Thought".

    Do correct it. Can't believe even Cricinfo makes mistakes.

  • shourav on January 7, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    As a Bangladeshi cricket fan in 90s, we will never forget Akram khan and his team. The celebration in Dhaka after winning ICC cup in 1997 was euphoric. We had a lot of sweet memories with that team. I also cherish fondly of the premier league cricket matches played by Akram, Bulbul, Lipu, Nannu, Rafique, Moni, Atahar etc. in the 90s. Those were intense matches, particularly Akram playing in Abahani club and Bulbul playing in Mohammedan. We thoroughly enjoyed listening radio commentary or even reading the newspaper reports next day. Those were sweet, innocent days and very different from present. Best wishes to those players and thanks for the sweet memories.

  • Stuart on January 7, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    Am not a great follower of Bangladeshi Cricket. Happened to read the tour dairy and was moved by your portrayal of this burly personality. I spent more time reading all the comments, and 'wow' everyone adores and worships Akram Bhai. He has thrust the country into a different league and has given hope. Akram Bhai - Salaam to you and Sriram beautiful article.

  • Pita on January 7, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Akram Khan- Still swelling....perhaps with pride.

  • Abhinav potadey on January 7, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    I think it is the best sports article that i,ve ever come accros.as a indian i hope bcci should do something to improve cricket situations in bd.apart from this akram bhai is a great player as well as great human being.. Best wishes in future Abhinau Potadey India

  • Asad on January 7, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Great article - love it. Thanks to everybody for making all those nice comments - I am with you all. Akram Khan is a great name in our cricket - his winning attitudes and humble manner reflects his love for the country. RAMAN LAMBA'S demise always make me sorry and my prayer always goes for him. Finally, thanks to Sriram Veera for this beautiful article

  • Abdullah Fahad on January 7, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    Nice Read.

  • KANAAN on January 7, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    i am a pakistani but i hope bangladesh be one of the best cricketing nation.even win a world cup.pakistanis will back them well if they do win.go bangladesh.

  • Sidhanta Patnaik on January 7, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    Cheers to cricinfo for having got in touch with Akram Khan, definitely one of the pillar of the early days of Bangladesh Cricket

  • aurhan on January 7, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    one of the best article i reed on cricket info.Raman lamba incident was very sad.thanks.

  • Nulaif on January 7, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    How would you put it..coinsidence???,

    Am from Sri Lanka and I was talking to a friend of mine about Akram Khan day before yesterday..

    He is more of Ranatunga (minus worldcup) figure for Bangladesh in their early stages of their game...

  • Abu Syeed on January 7, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Akram Khan is still probably the most popular figure of Bangladeshi cricket. Thanks to Sriram Veera for posting such a good article.

  • m.mm. kayser on January 7, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Akram khan is the hall of fame of bangladesh cricket.He makes us proud to be known as bangladesi. cheers, akram bhai!

  • Mamun on January 7, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    I can't agree that Akram wasn't a good player. Even in those days, when Bangladesh used to play ODI only once/twice in a year, just to lose the match before the toss, he had better average than Ashraful, I think (Atahar Ali was probably the most successful batsman in international level that time). The world hasn't seen him much, but I've seen him in our domestic league. He was the most important batsman of Abahoni, and it was a great contest between Bulbul and him in Abahoni-Mohammedan matches. He was dependable and his wicket was so much big for the opposition team.

  • Ali Mortuza on January 7, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    Yes, we never forget the GREATEST feelings of the superior innings by our GREAT national player AKRAM Khan against Holland otherwise definitively Bangladesh will never come to today's situation. In 1997 Circket winning, World cup qualifying, our Eid Festival, Bengali new year festival all came to only 1 equation = BANGALIR BIJY. And after that we got world cup ticket, got champions on the same icc, one day status, test status and now a days we are beating almost all leading test playing country's.

    We do & shall salute the great Akram, Nannu, Bulbul, Pilot, Shanto, Rafique & ......

    Thanks-Mortuza

  • Md Rabiul Alam on January 7, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    This is a great article. I can't forget those days of 97. He is one of the legend of BD cricket. Now I don't have enough time to read cricket news but when BD national team play I always keep eye on cricinfo. Onece again big thanks to Akram khan and his all team mates.

  • faisal on January 7, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Akram khan was an iconic player for Bangladesh.The best part about him that you can feel his presence in the ground and start to hope something will happen!

  • Rayhan Mirza on January 7, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    I was in the stadium to enjoy Abahani's match ( as a fan of Abahani) and saw how Raman Lamba was hitted. Really this was a very pathetic scene that can never forget.

    I was also great fan of Akram. When Akram in the crease , we though some thins will heppen ( like ASH now)

    Thanks both who bring this memoray again

  • shihab on January 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    BCCB should do something about remembering to RAMAN LAMBA. At least mark a stadiam stand by his name. any way good artical...

  • Mithun on January 7, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    When i was a child and fortuantely got physique like akram khan,i used hit ball too hard,my school friends used to say me akram khan.I watched a innings of him on TV against mohamedan with Neil Fairbrother,while watching only one thing was moving around my head is "Is hitting sixes so easy?".when i grow up people call me Inzamam..but yet Akram khan is my child hood hero.We both from same town.When we won the ICC final,my mother permitted me to buy bat,pad, etc.i still enjoy that day.Akram bhi,Wish you all the dest

  • Russell on January 7, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Very nice Article,I can smell all the histories far from Japan right now.I still have the video of that ICC Final match in Malaysia. Akram Bhai is indeed a Star and his nephews are also proving that they all have good sports in blood. I remember the fast bowler Saad in inter university competitions.When we were kids,we used to play in winter only.Thanks to the Craze,they play cricket the whole year in Bangladesh.What I want to say is,We also have a good history,in 1956 Test Match took place in Dhaka,Raquibul Hasan was there so far I remember! Long leave the sportsman Spirit!

  • Rana on January 7, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Many thanks to Sriram Veera for this article. I again salute Akram Khan for his contribution to Bangladesh cricket. Raman Lamba's incident still gives me much pain. He was a true friend of Bangladesh cricket. RIP Raman, you will always be in our prayer.

  • hasanuzzman on January 7, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Wonderful article.Akram is one of them who has brought bangladeshi cricket to this place along with nannu,bulbul,anamul hoque moni,naimur rahman durzoy,rafiq. Nice to see someone writting on them.Thanxt to the author.

  • hasanuzzman on January 7, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Wonderful article.Akram is one of them who has brought bangladeshi cricket to this place along with nannu,bulbul,anamul hoque moni,naimur rahman durzoy,rafiq. Nice to see someone writting on them.Thanxt to the author.

  • Anwar on January 7, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    we miss u akram our real hero of cricket......

  • Jewel on January 7, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Akram wasn't great player for the world but obviously he's a great player of Bangladesh and one of the player of Bangladesh, by their help Bangladesh become more tough for any other international team.

  • Aslam on January 7, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    He is our hero

  • SM AHMED on January 7, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    He was a performer. Thanks Man.

  • Atique on January 7, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    Who said Akram was not a good batsman? His technique was not greatest but we have to remember he represented country as one of the best batsman of those days.We used play only few international matches in a year.Even Dhoni's technique is not sound but he is no 1 in ranking.His only weakness I remember was against rising ball,we can't blame him as our pitches were all with low boumce.He was a big crowd puller & quite consistent performer.Thanks to him for his contribution to our cricket.

  • Saif on January 7, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    The big AKRAM-he has done a lot of things for Bangladeshi cricket,I think.Many thanks for the reporter.I heard about raman lamba for several times,but by this updates i can know about the inside story.Wishes for AKRAM ..

  • Saif on January 7, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    The big AKRAM-he has done a lot of things for Bangladeshi cricket,I think.Many thanks for the reporter.I heard about raman lamba for several times,but by this updates i can know about the inside story.Wishes for AKRAM ..

  • jadid on January 7, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    I had the fortune to watch the ICC Champions trophy match between Bangladesh v Holland. Akram Khan will always be remembered for that match. The ball was swinging and we were 4-down. Akram took some blow on his body to avoid an edge. That victory gave our circiket a lot.

  • Shahriar Istiaq Halim on January 7, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Akram Khan is a great memoire to us. He played most of the time without wearing helmet. Big guy; but nice reflex when he fielded. Only when he was recalled for playing his last games in world cup, I saw his last little that he was trying to contribute for his country. He was a great player and nonetheless a great player as well. His innings played against Holland (67) was the turning point for Bangladesh Cricket. Hats off to this great player.

  • Shahriar Istiaq Halim on January 7, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Akram Khan is a great memoire to us. He played most of the time without wearing helmet. Big guy; but nice reflex when he fielded. Only when he was recalled for playing his last games in world cup, I saw his last little that he was trying to contribute for his country. He was a great player and nonetheless a great player as well. His innings played against Holland (67) was the turning point for Bangladesh Cricket. Hats off to this great player.

  • S K Sharma - India on January 7, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    I can just say wow, absolutely fabulous article and moreover what i could deduce from this article is, Akram may be an average cricketer, where one can find a SIMPLE person like him.

    God Bless him and bangladesh cricket. Let subcontinent dominates in all facests of game in the world.

  • S K Sharma - India on January 7, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    I can just say wow, absolutely fabulous article and moreover what i could deduce from this article is, Akram may be an average cricketer, where one can find a SIMPLE person like him.

    God Bless him and bangladesh cricket. Let subcontinent dominates in all facests of game in the world.

  • Ruponti on January 7, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    Akram Khan was the great crickter. We should remember him forever.

  • Shahid on January 7, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    I was a little kid when I first saw Akram Khan in Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium (Abahani Field), leaning on his white Toyota Corolla. He was larger then life and he gave me his autograph (which I still have). I've seen him practice there all the time and his dedication was a far more then his peers, simply because he had to work harder then others to keep an injury free career. No matter what people said about his size he never compromised his fielding performance. And I listened to the radio commentary for the match against Holland, and they way he steered Bangladesh to victory was the turning point of the nations sports history. He may be modest in saying that he was not "mentally tough", but the current crop of Bangladeshi players should take a page from his never say die attitude. Bangladesh is not a pushover nation and cricket is a way to portray that, and his nephew Tamim showed the same gusto in his brave knock against India in World Cup 2007. Salute to the Khan family of Chittagong

  • Anwar on January 7, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Akram was a great captain.We should remember forevwr.

  • Imtiaj Hasan on January 7, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    The "Big" Khan rocks!! Nice article to read, Thanks Mr. Ram!

  • navid himal on January 7, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    nice to read a great article, thanks

  • safin ahmed on January 7, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    hats off to him !!!

  • PAOLO ALAM on January 7, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    Akram Khan was not mentally tough. He is right not to hide his weakness. However, he proved his critics wrong during his last test; he was hit in the chest by two vicious bouncers of Makhaya Ntini. Despite that he hit two boundaries each in two consecutive over. He never played for Bangladesh again. He retired from the game of cricket.

  • SandHunt on January 7, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    One devine quality of Akram Khan's charecter, which is not stated yet from any blog writer is his fairness as a selector. Though Nafis Iqbal as like Tamim Iqbal is his nephew he never give him any fondness by including him in the team. Akram can easyly give him a chance as he is a fairly good opener but he never never showed any kind of nepotism. So not only as a cricketer but also as a human being Akram Khan is a man who must be praised by all. Hats of him again.

  • SandHunt on January 7, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    One devine quality of Akram Khan's charecter, which is not stated yet from any blog writer is his fairness as a selector. Though Nafis Iqbal as like Tamim Iqbal is his nephew he never give him any fondness by including him in the team. Akram can easyly give him a chance as he is a fairly good opener but he never never showed any kind of nepotism. So not only as a cricketer but also as a human being Akram Khan is a man who must be praised by all. Hats of him again.

  • Shams on January 7, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Dear Sriram, It is our short history of cricket and the little moments which gives us the feeling of pride.There are not many Akram Khan these days as far as "brave heart" attitude is concerened as they tried to do something out of nothing but these days our younger lot is milking on the foundation that was laid in lights of Akram Khan, Khaled Masud Pilot, Khaled Mahmud Suzon, Zahagir Alam, Aminul Islam Bulbul, Minhazul abedin Nannu, and the great MR. RAFIQUE. So with due repect to the current lot of national team I would say these team is doing the things out of the something that had been done by the mentioned names.Even today or even in the coming tomorrow may be our children and our grand children will be reminded by the great names of past and present with national pride. To wrap up its all the cricket and cricket after all which makes us proud as a Bangladeshi. Cheers !! Bangladesh cricket and very best of luck for future

  • Shams on January 7, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    Dear Sriram, It is our short history of cricket and the little moments which gives us the feeling of pride.There are not many Akram Khan these days as far as "brave heart" attitude is concerened as they tried to do something out of nothing but these days our younger lot is milking on the foundation that was laid in lights of Akram Khan, Khaled Masud Pilot, Khaled Mahmud Suzon, Zahagir Alam, Aminul Islam Bulbul, Minhazul abedin Nannu, and the great MR. RAFIQUE. So with due repect to the current lot of national team I would say these team is doing the things out of the something that had been done by the mentioned names.Even today or even in the coming tomorrow may be our children and our grand children will be reminded by the great names of past and present with national pride. To wrap up its all the cricket and cricket after all which makes us proud as a Bangladeshi. Cheers !! Bangladesh cricket and very best of luck for future

  • Shihab Uddin on January 7, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Its an emotinal column for the BD fans of cricket. It covers a brief summary of the evaluation of Bangladesh cricket in international arena. Akram, an important figure of Bangladesh's cricketing transformation paid honest tribute to real picture of present and past status of BD cricket. Thanks Akram and the writer.

  • Shabbir Chowdhury on January 7, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Good guy,better as a friend, best as a cricketer.

  • Rabiul on January 7, 2010, 3:50 GMT

    Thanks Sriram Veera for this nice article. In my view Akaram Khan was a cool cricketer. I still remember the ICC 1997 matches after a long time. I was working in a University in Johor Baharu (near to Singapore), 380 KM from Kuala Lumpur at that time and I went to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Bahuru to watch the matches. It is still in my mind how cricket loving Bangladeshi expatriates in Malaysia helped the groundsmen using their own shirts to mop the outfield of the ground before Holland-Bangladesh match since there was a real possibility to abandon that match for wet outfield.

    Rabiul, CQuniversity, Australia

  • Shamrat on January 7, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    I think Akram Khan is a good skilled cricketer. His Nephiew Tamim Iqbal is also attacking player of Bangladesh team.

  • Robin on January 7, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Everlastings love for you.............

  • Shakil Ahmed on January 7, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Nice article. It made me nostalgic. Akram Khan was a hero of Bangladesh Cricet. We like to get these types of article in future with Atahar Ali Khan, Minhajul Abedin Nannu,Aminul Islam Bulbul, Khaled Mashud.

  • lovers r laiir on January 7, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    it has been said that the contribution is given by Akram kahn is not comparable than others in Bangladesh cricket. He has given soo much to Bd cricket team. in the primitive period of bangladesh cricket, only one man came up as a survivor of bangladesh national team, he is none other than him. although he did not put up his talent in field, but he provided the mental support, which is motivated others to perform well. As a result, Bangladesh is started to improve in World cricket. he has provided the inspiration in then till now. God bless him.

  • AHSAN UDDIN on January 7, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    It has been such a fantastic piece of Article done by Mr Veera, He not only itroduced Mr Akram Khan but also the Bangladesh Cricket as whole. The way Mr. Veera explained the evolution of Bangladesh cricket and its connection with Mr Khan was a remarkable one. Indeed Akram Khan was the role model for the budding cricketer of his age.Although he is no more playing cricket at the moment but the cricket concio├║s generation do keep high respect to him for his undaunting crick spirit .It used to be noticed that quite a few people used to go to cricket ground just to see Akrams' batting. Infact, Akram is the person who guided Bangladesh cricket to reach in the present hight.He had such a sportsman personality which is invaluable for the game. To me he was the Saint of Bangladesh cricket who lit the ever lasting light of cricket in Bangladesh.The whole nation regradless generation will remember him for his contribution in the field of Sports.Thanks again Mr Veera and Akram khan for the updates

  • bangfan on January 7, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Let us have more of these interviews and sriram veera keep this coming, you do have fantastic talent!

  • bujhee kom on January 7, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    Great article and interview from dear Sriram Veera bhai! We the Bangladesh cricket lovers are always forever grateful our dear Akram Khan bhai for all the things he has done and still doing for BD cricket! Akram bhai is a genuine gentleman and a true sweet, kind and gentle giant!!! My best regards.

  • ram on January 7, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    A very good article.....thanks..

  • clayton on January 6, 2010, 23:54 GMT

    nice one sriram.enjoyed it

  • Raka on January 6, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    It's really nice to have his comment on cricinfo. Akram Khan was my hero when I started to play Cricket. I always tried to hit the ball hard like him. In this interview you mentioned about that innings against Holland and in my point of view that was the best innings (what we achieved after that was only for that innings)ever played by any batsman for Bangladesh. He's the pathfinder of our present cricket..long live Akram Khan

  • Khaled on January 6, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Akram Khan was one of my favourite cricketers from Bangladesh. I still remember his match winning batting against Holland in ICC trophy. Hope he will continue contributing to Bangladesh cricket as a selector like his Silk Line buses that are providing a good service to the chittagong - dhaka passengers!! Great article Sriram.

  • go_tiger_go on January 6, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Thanks Mr. Veera for this nice blog on Akram. It would have taken years for BD to come this far in cricket without his two great (well, of course, in BD term) innings. Those two innings still give me goose bumps! Hats off to him. I still remember those days in 90s when I used to watch Abahani (AKA, Akram and Lipu) vs Mohameddan (Nannu and Bulbul) game live in stadium!

  • imz on January 6, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    i must say he has done so much for bangladesh cricket..i wish him all the best for the future

  • SandHunt on January 6, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    In 1999, when I read in class 8 went to the stadium oneday to enjoy a national league match where I found a big figure Akram Khan. I dont forgot to take his autograph that day and today, I dont forget to write something in his post as well. He is one of the architects who made the foundation of Cricket Bangladesh. Hats of him.

  • Tausif Salim on January 6, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    To say Akram Khan is not a 'good' cricketer is perhaps not wholly fair, taking into account the context under which he played. Bangladesh at that time was very much in its infancy, and it was players like Akram Khan, Aminul Islam, and Khaled Mashud who walked the team to where it is now, and perhaps we owe the most to Khaled Mashud Pilot, who effectively bridged the two generations of Bangladesh cricket. Despite his shortcomings, Akram played some entertaining and valuable knocks - the last one I remember was in a home game against India, where he blasted his way to a 50 odd and helped Bangladesh post 249. Yes, he might have lacked the physique, training, and technique, but he was effective in a different age for a different team, one that we cannot fully or fairly judge through the lens of the present.

  • Mahim Ezaz on January 6, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Cricket is gentleman's game and Akram Khan potraits it well. We can never forget his contribution in Bangladesh cricket. Hats off to the silent hero.

  • Ershad Khan on January 6, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    Thank you Mr. Veera for choosing this topic and a wel-written article!

  • jawaherul on January 6, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Akram was great but could have been much greater if he belonged to this current team. I can remember his last test innings. Ntini was bowling bouncers with only a silly short leg but with no square leg. The reason was a mental war going on between the two throughout the series. Akram hit three/four consecutive fours of Ntini, all but one in pull shots. However, Ntini for some strange reason still bowled a short pitch delivery with no alteration of fielding position. More strangely, Akram tried to defend and was caught at silly square leg. I was too moved by his sad departure from test cricket that day ....

  • Md. Sadikur Rahman on January 6, 2010, 19:16 GMT

    The prominent and populer personality, Akram khan, was not a great batsman in cricket but contributed a lot for cricket in Bangladesh. Still I remember those days when our national team played in ICC tournament 1997. This ex captain was icon for young cric-lovers on those days. Thanks auther for this article and also remember the contribution for other ex-captain of our national team

  • Razi on January 6, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    Surely this has to be the best article I've ever read on Cricinfo, thank you Sriram Veera and hats off to Akram Khan, you're really a true gentleman of Bangladesh cricket.

  • Afnan (Durber) on January 6, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    It was a nice Interview. Hopefully Bangladesh cricket team will get the habit of winning. Afnan (Masters student University of East London)

  • AmirHossen on January 6, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    How can i forget that innings agaist holland? Those days there was not so much tv channels so that we could see the matches. We used to hear radio comentry. One more thing that he played a same innings vs USA in 1994 ICC trophy in kenia. Thanks for a good article.

  • smp2 on January 6, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    thanks a lot the author for being me nostalgic. I was just a high school boy and really hurt when Bangladesh were in such a critical position in the must win situation. Thankfully God sent him to save us. That was really a pulsating moments, i was repeatedly chewing my nails. Ironically I was in the ground when Raman Lamba got struck hard on his head. The author pictured the both incident after talking to Akram which brought back my old days.

  • Reza Galib on January 6, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    Akram Khan's 67 against Holland was like a life saving medicine to the Cricket of Bangladesh. If it was not there on that day, our cricket would have been at the level where Kenya or Zimbabwe is struggling now. We all are grateful to him. Akram Khan may not be a role model batsman, may not be a player of great stat but he is great and I presume he finds himself deeply satisfied whenever he looks behind to the match between Bangladesh and Holland and his innings of 67. Sincere THANKS to Mr Sriram Veera for the article. Cheers...... :D....

  • Atique 947 on January 6, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    Gr8 article

  • Riaz on January 6, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    Akram was one of the best among all old Bangladeshi batsman.Cheers mate to bring the ICC 97 Memories again

  • Capt. Shafi on January 6, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    We salute Akram for the leadership he showed in Malaysia winning ICC championship. It went to the wire. The last ball decided the outcome.

  • jj on January 6, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    Bangladesh have come a long way and have a long way to go too. Interesting person!!!

  • Nafis Ahmed on January 6, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    That was a very nice interview which helped us know akram more.He was a very inspirational captain and a very good batsman.He might say cricket was not as challenging those days but only an inspirational captain like him can make a country acquire test status. The current state of Bangladesh cricket is n will be greatful forever to him and his team.

  • Syed Rahman on January 6, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    He is a great ambassador of Bangladesh cricket. We owe him so much. Thousands of salute to him.

  • zahid rashid on January 6, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    That was a pretty nice article. Reminded me of those crazy games :)

    Keep them coming.

  • Wa'ap on January 6, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Great article...just reminded me of what this big fellow did for Bangladesh cricket....Hadn't been his innings against Holland in that crucial do or die match..we might still been lurking around the associate level...he did single handedly put bangladesh into the semifinals in 97 ICC Cup...And he was only being modest when he said that he wasn't mentally tough...it was the astute physical and mental stature which pretty much made up for his diabolical technique...

  • Arif on January 6, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    I can remember the match Bangladesh played against Holland in ICC trophy 1997. I was a high school boy and used to listen commentary on radio. Those days, people thought this man [Akram Khan] charismatic player largely because of his bulky physique and strong hitting. But the most important think is that he was an eye-catching figure in the game and attracted people for the game. Though his comrades were not as professional as the current guys; I must hat off to them for the beginning of a glorious history.

  • TamimIqbal on January 6, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    The incident of Raman Lamba really pathetic. Thanks Akram Khan and Sriram Veera for bringing Raman Lamba's memory. Btw Akram Khan is really o good and friendly man. his contribution for Bangladesh cricket is unfogettable. hats off for his efforts

  • kabir on January 6, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Great article. An amazing read I must say. Cheers to Sriram!

  • yousuf_ruet_cse_05 on January 6, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    akram was not a good player but he did something for our cricket in the field and now doing outside the field as a selector,we are really thankful to him for his wonderful contribution in our cricket..................

  • Mahmood on January 6, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Akram Khan is someone special from those old cricketing days in Bangladesh. He will be remembered forever. Good article. Thanks to the author.

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  • Mahmood on January 6, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    Akram Khan is someone special from those old cricketing days in Bangladesh. He will be remembered forever. Good article. Thanks to the author.

  • yousuf_ruet_cse_05 on January 6, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    akram was not a good player but he did something for our cricket in the field and now doing outside the field as a selector,we are really thankful to him for his wonderful contribution in our cricket..................

  • kabir on January 6, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Great article. An amazing read I must say. Cheers to Sriram!

  • TamimIqbal on January 6, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    The incident of Raman Lamba really pathetic. Thanks Akram Khan and Sriram Veera for bringing Raman Lamba's memory. Btw Akram Khan is really o good and friendly man. his contribution for Bangladesh cricket is unfogettable. hats off for his efforts

  • Arif on January 6, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    I can remember the match Bangladesh played against Holland in ICC trophy 1997. I was a high school boy and used to listen commentary on radio. Those days, people thought this man [Akram Khan] charismatic player largely because of his bulky physique and strong hitting. But the most important think is that he was an eye-catching figure in the game and attracted people for the game. Though his comrades were not as professional as the current guys; I must hat off to them for the beginning of a glorious history.

  • Wa'ap on January 6, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Great article...just reminded me of what this big fellow did for Bangladesh cricket....Hadn't been his innings against Holland in that crucial do or die match..we might still been lurking around the associate level...he did single handedly put bangladesh into the semifinals in 97 ICC Cup...And he was only being modest when he said that he wasn't mentally tough...it was the astute physical and mental stature which pretty much made up for his diabolical technique...

  • zahid rashid on January 6, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    That was a pretty nice article. Reminded me of those crazy games :)

    Keep them coming.

  • Syed Rahman on January 6, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    He is a great ambassador of Bangladesh cricket. We owe him so much. Thousands of salute to him.

  • Nafis Ahmed on January 6, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    That was a very nice interview which helped us know akram more.He was a very inspirational captain and a very good batsman.He might say cricket was not as challenging those days but only an inspirational captain like him can make a country acquire test status. The current state of Bangladesh cricket is n will be greatful forever to him and his team.

  • jj on January 6, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    Bangladesh have come a long way and have a long way to go too. Interesting person!!!