Wasim Akram Makes Shocking Revelations About Cocaine Addiction After Retirement

The legendary pacer’s autobiography ‘Sultan: A Memoir’ will hit bookstores on 10 November.

Pakistan cricket legend, Wasim Akram, recently opened up about his struggle with cocaine addiction in an interview with The Times and even mentioned it in his upcoming autobiography Sultan: A Memoir.

The British newspaper shared a few extracts from his upcoming memoir which will be launched on 10 November, in which he revealed that he had developed a drug addiction after his retirement from international cricket in 2003.

Wasim Akram

Pakistan’s all-time leading wicket-taker stated that his cocaine addiction was due to his craving for “a substitute for the adrenaline rush of competition”. He added that the death of his first wife Huma in 2009 ended his addiction.

Life After Retirement

The Sultan of Swing recounted that his life had felt dull following his retirement. However, he went on to remain in the cricketing world as a commentator and coach for various teams.

Akram would also travel around the world and would attend high-end parties.

He wrote:

I liked to indulge myself; I liked to party. 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.

He also recalled that his cocaine habit began during a party in England.

“I developed a dependence on cocaine,” he wrote and added, “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”.

Wasim Akram with late first wife, Huma

The addiction took a toll on Akram’s marriage as he shared that the drug made him “volatile” and “deceptive”. He also added that he would often lie to  Huma, and would attend parties instead of being at home.

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.

Wasim admitted that his usage of the illegal drug had gotten out of hand that even his wife found out about it when she discovered a packet of cocaine in his wallet, requesting him to get help.

“It was getting out of hand,” he wrote.

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.

Rehab and Relapse

The cricketing star recalled the time he went into rehab, and detailed the distressing experience saying, “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”.

During the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa in 2009, he relapsed into his drug addiction despite his wife’s “daily scrutiny”.

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.

Sadly, in October 2009, Huma passed away due to a rare fungal infection, and the former cricketer quit his drug addiction for good.

He wrote,

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.

Following her death, there were speculations that Wasim Akram was dating Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen after the two were spotted together at several events. However, the Pakistani denied that they were dating.

New Beginnings

Since then, Wasim Akram has found a new lease on life, spurred on by his remarriage to Australian social worker, Shaniera Thompson, in 2013.

The legendary fast bowler has three children now — two sons from his first wife, and a daughter with Shaniera.

Wasim Akram, Akbar, Taimur, Shaniera, .and Aiyla

Wasim Akram concluded the interview by saying that he wrote his upcoming memoir 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”.