Imran Khan - The One and Only
Written by English NewsPaper/Dawn/Others   

Imran Khan made it into the 1971 side to England primarily because of his connections rather than pure merit.

This handsome and shy young man came from a family of accomplished cricketers, and his influential friends and relatives were intent on pushing him to the top.

But by the time he called it a day 21 years on, Imran Khan was hailed as one of the greatest cricketer world has ever seen. From a hapless rookie who made his Test debut when he didn't know the basics of the game, such as how to measure his run-up or bowl straight, Imran Khan had transformed himself into a fast bowling all-rounder of superior class.

Given that he started out as a player with little or no natural ability, his achievements on the field are truly amazing.

Whatever he accomplished in his long and glorious career, it came about by dint of sheer hard work and an insuperable will to conquer-In 1982, when-he took over as skipper, Imran tried to devise a recipe for success .and, in the process, identified .two basic ingredients that the team latfctKl - self-belief and the. killer instinct. He himself had plenty of both, and he went about instilling these qualities into the rest of the side. In the end, the same outfit which was infamous for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory metamorphosed into an all-conquering one under Imran Khan.

 

 
Rarely was Imran unprepared for any contingency. He had an analytical mind and tremendous heart and never shied from taking on the competition. At the same time, he possessed an intuitive ability to identify talent and take youngsters under his wings to groom them as he wished. Since he was indispensable as both player and captain, he wielded great power over the cricket board and its selectors, who had no option but to bow to his dictates- This ensured that he always got the combinations he wanted. In administrative matters, his influence also resulted in Pakistan becoming the first country to play a home Test series supervised by "neutral" third country umpires, Moreover, Imran had that all-important element of luck on his side more often than not. That was one reason why he achieved so many firsts as captain, among them beating both India and England on their home soil in Test series and coming close to achieving the same feat twice against the then invincible West Indians- He also saw his dream of a World Cup triumph materialise at the very fag end of an extraordinary career.

Though this particular milestone may soon be surpassed by his protege Wasim Akram, Imran Khan's 362 Test wickets is still a Pakistan record.

So is the number of matches in which he captained the side, 48 in Tests (14 won, 8 lost) and 139 in one-dayers (75 won, 59 lost, 182 wickets). Add to these feats the 3,807 runs he piled on in Tests and the 3,709 he scored in the instant version, and you have an all-rounder who can rightly claim to be one of the game's all-time greats. These remarkable figures may have been, even more phenomenal Had he not missed two years of cricket due to a shin injury when he was at the very peak of his career.

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Imran Khan Photos (12)
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Never shy of taking up a challenge, Imran took up the task of building a state of the art cancer hospital in Pakistan after his mother succumbed to the terminal disease. After a global fund-raising campaign spanning over 12 years, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital is now operational. His foray into politics, meanwhile, has not met with any tangible success so far, but Imran has refused to call it quits even though his party was routed in the last elections.

Current age 59 years 160 days

Major teams Pakistan, Dawood Club, Lahore, New South Wales, Oxford University, Pakistan International Airlines, Sussex, Worcestershire

Batting style Right-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm fast

Batting and fielding averages

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 6s Ct St
Tests 88 126 25 3807 136 37.69     6 18 55 28 0
ODIs 175 151 40 3709 102* 33.41 5105 72.65 1 19   36 0
First-class 382 582 99 17771 170 36.79     30 93   117 0
List A 425 384 80 10100 114* 33.22     5 66   84 0
Bowling averages

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 88 142 19458 8258 362 8/58 14/116 22.81 2.54 53.7 17 23 6
ODIs 175 153 7461 4844 182 6/14 6/14 26.61 3.89 40.9 3 1 0
First-class 382   65224 28726 1287 8/34   22.32 2.64 50.6   70 13
List A 425   19122 11312 507 6/14 6/14 22.31 3.54 37.7 12 6 0

published in Herald, Pakistan in  December 1997.