Wasim Akram reveals cocaine addiction in devastating claim about wife

Wasim Akram, pictured here after commentating a T20 between Pakistan and England.
Wasim Akram looks on after commentating a T20 between Pakistan and England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Pakistani cricket legend Wasim Akram has revealed he became addicted to cocaine in the years following his retirement and only kicked the addiction when his first wife died.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the former Pakistan captain who helped his country win the 1992 World Cup, said it was wife Huma who "found me out" and advised him to seek help.

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In an interview to promote his new autobiography 'Sultan: A Memoir', the 56-year-old said seeking help didn't work because "the doctor was a complete con man" and he returned to taking the drug.

But Huma's death in 2009 at the age of 42 finally convinced Akram to quit for good.

Akram - who took 414 wickets in 104 Tests for Pakistan - said "the culture of fame in south Asia is all-consuming, seductive and corrupting" and he fell into that trap after he retired from professional cricket in 2003.

"It was a substitute for the adrenaline rush of competition, which I sorely missed, or to take advantage of the opportunity, which I had never had," he revealed.

"My devices turned into vices."

Akram was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 30, and said he first took cocaine when he was offered some at a party in England.

"My use grew steadily more serious, to the point that I felt I needed it to function," he said.

Akram revealed how Huma felt isolated when they lived between England and Lahore with their two sons (Tahmoor and Akbar), as her husband's media commitments took him all over the world.

"It (cocaine) made me volatile," he said.

"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."

Wasim Akram, pictured here celebrating with Javed Miandad after the 1992 World Cup final.
Wasim Akram celebrates with Javed Miandad after the 1992 World Cup final. (Photo by Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

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Akram decided he needed help after Huma "discovered a packet of cocaine in my wallet."

"I couldn't control it," he said. "Four (lines) 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."

Akram said a stint in rehab in Lahore was a complete failure, largely because the doctor who treated him placed dollar signs ahead of curing his patients.

"This facility was brutal. A bare building with five cells, a meeting room and a kitchen," he said.

"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."

Wasim Akram, pictured here with second wife Shaniera at an Indian Premier League game in 2016.
Wasim Akram with second wife Shaniera at an Indian Premier League game in 2016. (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The bowling legend resumed his habit as "the lure of my lifestyle remained" and indulged in it at the 2009 Champions Trophy.

But two weeks after the tournament finished Huma died of mucormycosis - a rare fungal infection.

Akram said the tragedy finally convinced him to give up cocaine.

"Huma's last selfless, unconscious act was curing me of my drug problem," said Akram, who has since remarried Australian Shaniera Thompson - with whom he has had a daughter Aiyla.

"That way of life was over, and I have never looked back."

Cricket fans and commentators have taken to social media to express their sadness over Akram's revelations.

with agencies

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