Almanac Lunches: Wasim Akram and Gideon Haigh


Wasim Akram’s book can be purchased Here


The Odd Friday/ Footy Almanac lunches are always a great opportunity for me to have a day out in Melbourne, and I eagerly look forward to them. Although the driving, the time spent in the car, and the busy and congested traffic can make the trip tiresome and often frustrating, I know it will be worth the effort.


Wasim Akram and Gideon Haigh in conversation


Friends Stan Kluzek, Tony Forbes, Col Ritchie, Brian Wise, Malcolm Pollitt


Receiving notification the next lunch had Pakistani cricket legend Wasim Akram, and the co-author of his biography, well known journalist, cricket commentator and author Gideon Haigh I knew it was one not to be missed. I also thought it a fantastic opportunity to invite a couple of mates from Colac, Tony Forbes and Stan Kluzek, and meet up with our fellow New Orleans travelling buddy Brian Wise.


Footy Almanac stalwart Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt



Roger Lowrey giving the question deep thought


As an editor at the Footy Almanac I’ve met many wonderful people through their writing on the website, the occasional correspondence with emails and phone conversations but the lunches provide the opportunity to finally meet many of them in the flesh to form and further cement friendships. And of course, the wonderful stories and yarns told over a drink at the bar or during lunch remind me so much of the power of conversation and, in particular, story in everyday life.



John Harms setting the scene


John Harms organises the lunches and brings together this disparate group of readers, writers, thinkers, and conversationalists into the wonderful community that it is. John sets the scene for the occasion with his good humoured introductory banter and anecdotes leaves no doubt we are in for a wonderful afternoon of conversation between two great exponents from the cricket world, one a former champion Test cricketer in Pakistani great Wasim Akram, the other,  the quintessential writer about this wonderful game of cricket, Gideon Haigh. An awesome twosome!





Wasim ponders Gideon’s question


After the introductions, Gideon in his distinctive, erudite and authorial voice asks perceptive, and thought provoking questions  during his discussion with Wasim. Wasim is no slouch,  and he responds to the questions in an articulate, thoughtful, and enlightening manner. He is pleased to be asked a question, respects the questioner, and is delighted to offer his  response to the question in a humble and acknowledging manner  reflecting, as he mentions often, how fortunate he has been, and how proud he is of the successful career he had. Yes, he had talent but he worked hard with that talent to maintain and improve his cricketing ability. It was not given to him, Wasim earned it. Gideon draws this information and more from Wasim so skillfully  and respectively to the delight of the audience. One aspect raised I was totally unaware of was Wasim’s first test match was also his first, first class match. Thrown straight into the deep end but obviously the talent was there to justify his selection.


Like all, I was in enraptured with the interactions between Wasim and Gideon, and like many, I bought the book and I look forward to an enthralling read.



Dave, Paul, and Tim Noonan


One of the great pleasures of the Footy Almanac lunches is the people you meet there. My friends and I were fortunate to share our table with the Noonan brothers – Paul, Dave, and Tim, and during our conversations with them we learnt so much about this incredible family and the prominent careers they lead.


Thank you Wasim and Gideon for your wonderful conversation about cricket, I only wish it could have gone on all day!


All photographs taken by Col Ritchie.



More from Col Ritchie can be read Here


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Next, best thing to being there. Thanks, Col. Two presenters at the top of their form obviously. Wasim did a little vignette on Fran Kelly’s program that brought out the lighter side of the man for a non-cricketing audience.

  2. Great summary Col.

    It was a fabulous afternoon.

  3. Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt says

    I’m now hoping to bump into Wasim next time I’m in Brighton.

    If I’d known you were taking that shot Col I would have spun around to show off my SA Great t-shirt. And closed my mouth.

    And thanks again JTH for the last minute seating arrangements.

  4. roger lowrey says

    Thanks Col. Great capture of the vibe. A memorable lunch, including Wasim’s instructive hint of “if you are going to sledge a Pakistani, speak slowly!”

    I must say, my expression in that photo reminds me of the expression on the Major’s face in that terrific scene in Fawlty Towers where, under intense questioning from Basil as Mrs Richards insists on the missing horse money cash being hers, Basil stands over the Major demanding he sets the record straight.

    After some quick exchanges which take him nowhere the Major asks with a totally puzzled look “what was the question?”


  5. Great summary, Col.

    I am shattered that I was double-booked on the day.

  6. Thanks for taking us there, Col.
    Well done Wasim Akram. Well done GCJD Haigh. Well done JT Harms.

  7. Given that 2022 has been a grimly NFA-free one for me I gave this serious consideration before abandoning my mission due to the pesky responsibilities of family and work. It looks like it would’ve been great. Thanks for this, Col.

    Was the soup of its usually impeccable standard?

  8. Reasons to live in Melbourne:
    1. Footy Almanac lunches.
    2. Golf courses.
    3. ………………???

  9. I think Roger Lowrey is contemplating the move of Sam de Koning to CHF.

    Its inevitable Roger!!

  10. roger lowrey says

    No way Dips. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    Besides, your alleged flat track bully JC was 2022 equal B&F playing at CHF so I think we’ll probably leave him there.


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