"It was getting out of hand. I couldn’t control it."
Former cricketer Wasim Akram has shockingly revealed that he developed a cocaine addiction after retiring from the sport.
The Pakistani star made the revelation in his upcoming autobiography, Sultan: A Memoir. He also revealed what ended his addiction.
Wasim described the beginning of his addiction as “a substitute for the adrenaline rush of competition”.
He would take cocaine whenever he was away from home and his wife, Huma Mufti.
Explaining the negative side of his fame, Wasim said:
“The culture of fame in South Asia is all-consuming, seductive and corrupting.
“You can go to 10 parties a night, and some do. And it took its toll on me.
“It made me volatile. It made me deceptive.”
At the height of his addiction, Wasim preferred to travel without his wife.
“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.”
Unsurprisingly, this had an effect on his marriage and Huma eventually found out about Wasim’s cocaine addiction.
“Huma eventually found me out, discovering a packet of cocaine in my wallet.”
With deep concern, Huma expressed to Wasim: “You need help.”
Wasim Akram agreed that his addiction was taking over his life.
“I agreed. It was getting out of hand. 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.
“Like a lot of addicts, part of me welcomed discovery: the secrecy had been exhausting.”
Wasim Akram began his rehabilitation programme, but his negative experience with the doctor resulted in a relapse:
“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.
“My pride was hurt, and the lure of my lifestyle remained.”
The relapse added to the toll on his marriage.
“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.”
The cocaine addiction came to an end after his wife’s sudden death from multiple organ failure in 2009.
Speaking about his late wife, Wasim said:
“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.”
Wasim Akram remarried in 2013 to Australian social worker Shaniera Thompson.
Wasim currently takes part in various coaching and cricket engagements across the world.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers, Wasim Akram played 104 Test matches and 356 ODIs for Pakistan.