Imran Khan July 30, 2010

'The more the pressure, the stronger I got'

Interview by Sam Collins
The charismatic former Pakistan captain on wanting to be fast, teaching Wasim and Waqar to bowl, the allrounder wars of the 1980s, ball-tampering, and more
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Imran Khan is Pakistan's most famous player and most successful captain. As smooth off the field as he was competitive on it, he made his Test debut as an 18-year-old medium-pacer, transforming himself into a genuinely quick opening bowler and formidable batsman. He led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 World Cup, after which he entered Pakistani politics.

Was it inevitable that you would become a cricketer?
My two cousins were Test captains. One, Majid Khan, became Test captain while I was playing. One was an Oxford Blue [Javed Burki] and one a Cambridge Blue [Majid]. If you're living up to people who have made it big, you face more pressure than ordinary cricketers. Doors open easier but you're always judged against them. I was always told that I had less talent than them.

You made your Test debut in England aged 18. What happened?
I had always had ambitions as a batsman but I was selected as a fast bowler because Pakistan hardly had any. I'd played very few first-class matches, and while in home conditions my slingy action was effective, in England I was totally at sea. I was dropped after that first Test and my team-mates openly told me I'd never get back into the team. But I'd been determined to be a Test cricketer since I was nine and there was never any chance, no matter how many setbacks I faced, that I would give up.

What turned you into a quick bowler?
In 1972, Australia came to England. I watched Dennis Lillee bowl and that's when I decided I wanted to be fast. It was the first time I'd seen a genuine fast bowler. Pakistan didn't have any, and I just loved it. It appealed to my instincts, my aggressive way of playing. I was a medium-pacer then and Worcester would encourage me to bowl that because I had a natural inswinger. But I was never satisfied, so if I ever got hit, I would try and bowl faster. That's how I got this aggressive streak, to seek revenge when a batsman tried to dominate, that made me into a fast bowler. I understood the limitations of how I used to bowl, so I completely restructured my bowling action between the ages of 18 and 25. I spent the winter after I finished at Oxford University [1975-76] in Pakistan, and that was really the turning point, because on those wickets you needed to have air speed. My first-class team [Pakistan International Airlines] encouraged me to bowl fast. In a year I'd gained pace and was genuinely fast.

You came third behind Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding at the famous speed test in Perth in 1978...
We were bowling bouncers and Jeff Thomson was bowling full-tosses, so there was a slight distortion, although he was probably still quicker. Out of eight balls I bowled, seven were quicker than Holding. I wasn't even at my peak - I was quicker in the next two years. In my peak I got nearly 100 wickets in about a year, 40 in a series against India, but I did my shin bone and missed three of my best years as a bowler.

What are your memories of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket?
It was the highest standard I've played. It was the greatest number of fast bowlers ever concentrated in one place - very high-calibre fast bowling. There were people like Tony Greig, Lawrence Rowe, Roy Fredericks, who were outstanding batsmen, but all three of them sank under the barrage of quick bowlers.

Did captaincy improve you as a player?
The more pressure I took, the stronger I got.

Teams follow captains they believe in. I used to tell them: "Do not be scared of losing, you'll never know how to win." I discovered why I was successful and others who were more talented than me weren't. My whole policy was aggressive: how am I going to win? Most who captained me used to enter a match thinking we should not lose. The result was that team selection became defensive. It's a big difference in strategy and attitude. I took this fear of losing away from them and that's why we used to pull off incredible victories from losing positions. We played superior opposition and did very well. You become fearless and that is a very important component in successful people, organisations, even countries.

"Waqar was a very strong bowler, not as gifted as Wasim but much stronger physically. Mentally Waqar was very tough. Wasim would give up a little bit when things got down; Waqar would keep coming back"

Did you find it difficult being a bowling captain?
Batting captains never had a clue about bowlers. Most captaincy is done on the field. As a bowler I was far better equipped to deal with that than batting captains. The only batting captain I rated was Ian Chappell. He had a very good cricket mind and could deal with bowlers well. Apart from him, very few were good because they didn't understand bowlers. Because I was a bowling captain, I taught Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis from scratch. They had hardly played any first-class cricket and I would tell them what to do every ball because I had been through the process myself. I would set their fields and I would tell them what to think.

What were the raw ingredients that you saw in Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis?
Wasim was the most talented bowler I have seen apart from Holding. A natural. But he needed the art of taking wickets, fitness and advice, which I gave him. Waqar was a very strong bowler, not as gifted as Wasim, but much stronger physically. Mentally, Waqar was very tough. Wasim would give up a little bit when things got down; Waqar would keep coming back. But Wasim was much more talented.

How do you compare with the three other great allrounders from the 1970s and 80s: Botham, Hadlee, Kapil Dev?
We were all great competitors. I had my duels with all three. Botham was a better batsman than all of them, Hadlee was a better bowler than the others, and Kapil Dev, at one point, had great batting potential but never developed it. It's not easy at that level to keep developing both skills.

Ian Botham peaked very early. I think he was already on the downer at 26 or 27 because he had become very big. He started off as an allrounder of more promise than all of us because he had a great side-on bowling action and outswing. But by his late 20s his bowling was no longer effective. And batting-wise, the reason I don't think he fulfilled his potential is his performance against West Indies. I judge batsmen on their performance against the big boys and in critical situations. In that sense, Botham's performance against West Indies was just appalling - averaging about 14 with the bat and around 40 with the ball [in fact, 21 and 35].

Your bowling average was 21 against West Indies, the dominant team of the era. Did you raise your game against them?
The tougher the competition, the better it got out of me. Sometimes I used to lose motivation against the smaller teams. The lure of beating West Indies in the West Indies was the main reason I came out of retirement [in 1988]. We drew 1-1 but with neutral umpires we would have won 2-0 and I would have retired then because it was my ambition to beat the ultimate team in world cricket. I'm the only captain that never lost to West Indies in three series, all drawn.

They tested you completely. It demanded the greatest concentration, guts and a proper technique to face them. The batting was great too. Viv Richards was head and shoulders above everyone else. A genius. It was his reflexes, his timing, lightning footwork and his attitude. He was very courageous - a batsman who would take on challenges. His statistical record does not reflect his ability or the number of match-winning innings he played. He used to get bored, whereas other batsmen would bat for their averages.

What are your memories of the 1992 World Cup?
Great euphoria. I handpicked that young team and for them to win the World Cup from that impossible situation was a source of such happiness to the Pakistanis. I was so proud of that team. When I retired, I left the best Pakistan team in its history. I was very disappointed that it never achieved its potential. Match-fixing allegations dogged them.

Do you regret admitting to using a bottle top during the 1981 county season?
I regret that it distorted the whole discussion on ball-tampering; it took it to another level. I was trying to explain that ball-tampering had always been part of cricket. It was only when you crossed a certain limit that it became cheating. He [journalist Ivo Tennant] asked me point blank and I said, "Yes". I'd played a match at Sussex against Hampshire. It was a dead wicket, petering towards a draw. We had drinks and there was a bottle top. I scratched the ball trying to get resistance on the other side. I said: "That is cheating, you've crossed the line." I was illustrating the point. Then other people jumped in, people trying to settle scores, people taking money from tabloids to say: "I saw Imran ball-tampering". They were such liars and they made money. In that sense, I regretted it.

There must have been times when the pressure got to you, leading Pakistan for 10 years?
Cricket is the only captaincy in sport where you face pressure. In Pakistan the pressure is more than in other places because when the team loses, the captain's head comes on the chopping block, otherwise the board is removed. There were about 17 changes in the 10-12 years after I left. When I came in, there was a players' revolt against the captain and I was the compromise. In my 10 years I never had a problem. I had the complete respect of the team.

How did cricket prepare you for politics?
Politics is cut-throat. I find myself far better equipped than my colleagues because I learnt to compete and take knocks from sport. There is no better preparation for politics. It is the ultimate in character-building. Being a political leader is like being a cricket captain. You walk out to a stadium full of people, all responsibility on you, and if you can learn to take that responsibility, it equips you to do anything in life.

Sam Collins is editor of wisdencricketer.com. This article was first published in the May 2010 issue of the Wisden Cricketer. Subscribe here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on August 2, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    As an Indian, the Pakistani player/person i admire most is the great Mr.Imran Khan. He has been a strong personality on & off the field, maybe the rare educated pakistani player , more like an Englishman. From bowling 1st 4 balls of his career to third slip to becoming a great fast bowler & best Pakistani leader is no mean achievement. He was a courageous & honest leader on field hence his players followed & trusted him, which made even ordinary players perform beyond their ability. Since he his a Pasthun, he is naturally aggressive & very straight forward ie he can't talk smooth like the corrupt politicians. If he consciously become more humble, diplomatic & sensitive say like Sachin Tendulkar, & shed his outwardly aggressive image than i firmly believe he can become a great mass leader of our sub-continent & not just a elite playboy with an English ex-wife.

  • on August 2, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    Imran Khan is the true force that reflects the real Pakistan Cricket. Skillful, charismatic and a gutted leader who has belief in what he is doing. Never backed away from any given situation, he's the one who can show Pakistan Cricket the way to come back at the top of the world. He's won wide-spread admiration for his 'off-field' work for the Cancer Hospital Pakistan.

    Got no words to describe my legend, all I can say is that he's still the most recognizable Cricket Legend across seven continents.

  • fadooo on August 1, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    Seriously some of the comments here are totally ridiculous. Like saying that Imran performed so well as a captain only because he protected himself !? To be able to captain for 10 years in a place like Pakistan where everyone is out to get you, you really have to be on the top of your game. Imran's sceret of success was that he led from the front. Bowling against the top order: his record against viv and gavaskar for example was pretty awesome. And then batting in the top order. After him Miandad couldnt last 2 years, and then Wasim couldnt last one year ! And again, coming back to the 1982 series, if it was a tampered ball, how come his bowling partner sarfaraz nawaz didnt get much success with the same ball !?

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 1, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    He is one of the best. The one thing I always remember him (besides his great physique, atheletic ability, terryfying pace and those banana in swingers) is his demeanor. I never once saw/read of him abusing any one (unlike that famous jumping monkey Miandad), or losing his cool. Great players (like Roberts, Holding, (may be Sachin?) et. al) never needed to stoop to such low levels.

    He was my true inspiration for taking up cricket. One of my "Cricketing Gods". Great players, great minds, greater mental aptitude. Look around now and you don't find any.

  • on August 1, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    I wish to be born like Imran Khan!

  • smalishah84 on August 1, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Imran Khan has inspired 3 generations of Pakistani bowlers to bowl fast on heartless, flat, and insipid tracks. Almost every young man wanted to walk like Imran Khan and talk like him too. He was suave and slick. Yes he was arrogant but like someone else mentioned he could have done without modesty given the personality he was. The man had everything that people want in themselves. The cricketing skills, the qualities, the leadership, and with all that his aristocratic good looks and glamor. Even to this day the top Bollywood stars like Sharukh Khan and Salman Khan will tell you that he was their favorite cricketer. Sanjay Manjrekar wants to be reborn as Imran Khan. Coming from Indians that is HUGE praise for a Pakistani. I can't think of another cricketer who has had so much influence over the way the game has been played in his country. Enough Said..........

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    The sad but interesting thing is that none of the good lessons that Imran mentions he learned seem to be applicable to the present players of the Pakistani team.Mr. Salman Butt still seems nervous to bat and others player's body langauge start showing defeat even when it is not over. What a difference in class!! If these present players could do have 1/4 of Imran's mental strength.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    From the 40 wickets haul against India, I recall a few observations. First, the Karachi spell wasn't exactly the best ever that Imran bowled (in terms of the reward, it certainly was) because the Indian batsmen simply became over awed psychologically. I think Imran bowled his best spell 2 matches later at Hyderabad, which was literally a dead wicket made of sand. But Imran was determined to fire all of his energy and totally destroy the opponents, in fact doing it over the board and in the process incurring a shin stress fracture. No video of that blowing is now available unfortunately but I on TV it was the best demonstration of speed, swing, control at genuine pace I have ever seen. After the Hyderabad test, I expected Imran to get 50 wickets in the series. However, the fact that there was something wrong with Imran's leg was beginning to show in the 5th test at Lahore. It slowed his assault. Imran barely completed 40 wickets when he bowled Gavaskar at Karach in the last innings.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Imran vs Viv Richards was one of the most sought after contests in cricket. At times, Viv Richards smashed Imran with fantastic shots. However, Viv Richards has the lowest batting average (much below his overall average) against Pakistan, both in tests and one day internationals, which speaks volumes for Imran's bowling and his ability to contain the otherwise uncontrollable Viv. In the 1976-77 series against Pakistan in West Indies, Richards' highest score was 92 out of 10 innings, during which Imran dismissed him 4 times (twice cleaned bowled). In the 1981 series in Pakistan, Richards could only painstakingly score one century (probably his slowest) in a 4 match series. Overall, Imran had a pretty tight control over Richards, often giving him a pretty torrid time. I remmeber Richards being beaten time and again, and Taslim Arif dropping him off Imran. I think Imran has had an upper hand over Richards.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    Even though Imran has given the impressions of being arrogant in the past, he does not come out as arrogant in this interview. Not at all. Even if he did, so what?

    Regarding allrounders, as Lance Gibbs says, it is batsman;s game (rather sadly). So Sobers is greater than Imran overall. If it weren't batsman's game, Imran would have edged out Sobers.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on August 2, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    As an Indian, the Pakistani player/person i admire most is the great Mr.Imran Khan. He has been a strong personality on & off the field, maybe the rare educated pakistani player , more like an Englishman. From bowling 1st 4 balls of his career to third slip to becoming a great fast bowler & best Pakistani leader is no mean achievement. He was a courageous & honest leader on field hence his players followed & trusted him, which made even ordinary players perform beyond their ability. Since he his a Pasthun, he is naturally aggressive & very straight forward ie he can't talk smooth like the corrupt politicians. If he consciously become more humble, diplomatic & sensitive say like Sachin Tendulkar, & shed his outwardly aggressive image than i firmly believe he can become a great mass leader of our sub-continent & not just a elite playboy with an English ex-wife.

  • on August 2, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    Imran Khan is the true force that reflects the real Pakistan Cricket. Skillful, charismatic and a gutted leader who has belief in what he is doing. Never backed away from any given situation, he's the one who can show Pakistan Cricket the way to come back at the top of the world. He's won wide-spread admiration for his 'off-field' work for the Cancer Hospital Pakistan.

    Got no words to describe my legend, all I can say is that he's still the most recognizable Cricket Legend across seven continents.

  • fadooo on August 1, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    Seriously some of the comments here are totally ridiculous. Like saying that Imran performed so well as a captain only because he protected himself !? To be able to captain for 10 years in a place like Pakistan where everyone is out to get you, you really have to be on the top of your game. Imran's sceret of success was that he led from the front. Bowling against the top order: his record against viv and gavaskar for example was pretty awesome. And then batting in the top order. After him Miandad couldnt last 2 years, and then Wasim couldnt last one year ! And again, coming back to the 1982 series, if it was a tampered ball, how come his bowling partner sarfaraz nawaz didnt get much success with the same ball !?

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 1, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    He is one of the best. The one thing I always remember him (besides his great physique, atheletic ability, terryfying pace and those banana in swingers) is his demeanor. I never once saw/read of him abusing any one (unlike that famous jumping monkey Miandad), or losing his cool. Great players (like Roberts, Holding, (may be Sachin?) et. al) never needed to stoop to such low levels.

    He was my true inspiration for taking up cricket. One of my "Cricketing Gods". Great players, great minds, greater mental aptitude. Look around now and you don't find any.

  • on August 1, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    I wish to be born like Imran Khan!

  • smalishah84 on August 1, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Imran Khan has inspired 3 generations of Pakistani bowlers to bowl fast on heartless, flat, and insipid tracks. Almost every young man wanted to walk like Imran Khan and talk like him too. He was suave and slick. Yes he was arrogant but like someone else mentioned he could have done without modesty given the personality he was. The man had everything that people want in themselves. The cricketing skills, the qualities, the leadership, and with all that his aristocratic good looks and glamor. Even to this day the top Bollywood stars like Sharukh Khan and Salman Khan will tell you that he was their favorite cricketer. Sanjay Manjrekar wants to be reborn as Imran Khan. Coming from Indians that is HUGE praise for a Pakistani. I can't think of another cricketer who has had so much influence over the way the game has been played in his country. Enough Said..........

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    The sad but interesting thing is that none of the good lessons that Imran mentions he learned seem to be applicable to the present players of the Pakistani team.Mr. Salman Butt still seems nervous to bat and others player's body langauge start showing defeat even when it is not over. What a difference in class!! If these present players could do have 1/4 of Imran's mental strength.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    From the 40 wickets haul against India, I recall a few observations. First, the Karachi spell wasn't exactly the best ever that Imran bowled (in terms of the reward, it certainly was) because the Indian batsmen simply became over awed psychologically. I think Imran bowled his best spell 2 matches later at Hyderabad, which was literally a dead wicket made of sand. But Imran was determined to fire all of his energy and totally destroy the opponents, in fact doing it over the board and in the process incurring a shin stress fracture. No video of that blowing is now available unfortunately but I on TV it was the best demonstration of speed, swing, control at genuine pace I have ever seen. After the Hyderabad test, I expected Imran to get 50 wickets in the series. However, the fact that there was something wrong with Imran's leg was beginning to show in the 5th test at Lahore. It slowed his assault. Imran barely completed 40 wickets when he bowled Gavaskar at Karach in the last innings.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Imran vs Viv Richards was one of the most sought after contests in cricket. At times, Viv Richards smashed Imran with fantastic shots. However, Viv Richards has the lowest batting average (much below his overall average) against Pakistan, both in tests and one day internationals, which speaks volumes for Imran's bowling and his ability to contain the otherwise uncontrollable Viv. In the 1976-77 series against Pakistan in West Indies, Richards' highest score was 92 out of 10 innings, during which Imran dismissed him 4 times (twice cleaned bowled). In the 1981 series in Pakistan, Richards could only painstakingly score one century (probably his slowest) in a 4 match series. Overall, Imran had a pretty tight control over Richards, often giving him a pretty torrid time. I remmeber Richards being beaten time and again, and Taslim Arif dropping him off Imran. I think Imran has had an upper hand over Richards.

  • gallant_cricketer on August 1, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    Even though Imran has given the impressions of being arrogant in the past, he does not come out as arrogant in this interview. Not at all. Even if he did, so what?

    Regarding allrounders, as Lance Gibbs says, it is batsman;s game (rather sadly). So Sobers is greater than Imran overall. If it weren't batsman's game, Imran would have edged out Sobers.

  • SangakaraFan on August 1, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    I see lot of arrogance in Imran's interview.Apart from pakistani fans lot of people here will agree with me that Imran is yet another over-rated player/captain from pakistan.Just because a team won a W' cup, does not mean that the captain is Great. No doubt he was good bowler but a GREAT captain is that who brings a totally young side and builds it as a world class unit. Something which Allan Border did as a captain in 86 won the world cup in 87 then the ASHES and went on winning all series there after.Future captains like Taylor,Waugh beneifited from that. Pakistanis never had a good captain so they consider Imran as God as he was the captain when they won the W'cup.Their country is in such a bad state that lot of pakistanis want to make him a president. Now that is little too much.

  • on August 1, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    Imran is the cricketing symbol specially in south asia, lots of young boys started thier cricket watching imran khan on Tv, he was the sex sign of cricket, top Indian actresses were after him, i think just because of Imran khan and his stardom Cricket is the No.1 sports in our South Asia. No doubt about his captaincy and leadership quality he used to lead from the front, his aggression still passing through from our fast bowling line up, 2 ww Wasim and Waqr to Akhtar & Akhtar to Aamir, Asif and Gul and many others in pipeline just because of Legend. i still remember his quot on toss against Australia in 92 WC he was wearing tiger's Tshirts to show border that we are wounded tigers we can do anything to win. A GENUINE MAN !!!!!! A GENUINE CRICKETER !!!!! A TRUE LEADER !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Engle on July 31, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    If Imran had never been captain, his feats would have still stood out. In matches they bowled together, he outperformed the best of his era; Lillee, Hadlee and Marshall. In batting, his stats were better than some pure batsmen. Yet, amazingly his greatest contribution to his team was his captaincy, an additional burden that no other all-round pacer could manage to bear, be it Botham, Kapil, Hadlee, Kallis, Flintoff or any other in the history of the game. So, yes, the more the pressure, the better he performed.

  • insightfulcricketer on July 31, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    Imran if not the greatest all-rounder is certainly the next best. To his tremendous allround capabilities one should also add captaincy. Which none of the other all-rounders were pretty good at not even Sir Gary maybe Kapil to an extent (he won the elusive World Cup for India with an outmatched team). Though I am an Indian cricket fan I too was listening to the commentary of late 80s in the dead of night of Pak in West Indies because the cricket was so compelling. He truly led from the front in the series and had almost de-fanged the then mighty West Indies in their den at their terms. You could make out by the passage of plays there that he commendably led by sheer stength of his captaincy and personality. Plus I also grudgingly admired his leadership when in '87 they narrowly beat a strong Indian team in India and thrashed them in ODIs. You have to give to the man - a true Kohinoor of cricket.

  • Whisperofdeath on July 31, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    I think Imran Khan along with Sunil Gavaskar deserve title as "Sir" now. But it is really hard for Britian to accepts Asian to give titles....

  • ahassan on July 31, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    Imran, no doubt, was one the greatest cricketers who played this sport. People are discussing his average of 27 against West Indies as low average but remember that Javed Miandad has an average of 29, Zaheer 18 and Botham 21 aganist the WI attack of that period. Wasim and Waqar themselves acknowledge that they learnt a lot from Imran Khan so it a useless debate whether he taught them or not. He lost 2 or 3 years of cricket at his peak due to shin fracture otherwise he may have become the greatest all-rounder ever. His batting average was aroud 50 when he was captain and it was better than the average of Miandad during that period. Above all he was and still is an honest and straight forward person.

  • on July 31, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Simply the best.....the man epitomized leadership,courage ,determination and honesty

  • waspsting on July 31, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    lot of talk about Imran's "arrogance" here. I think people are missing the point.

    the "arrogance" is key point of the mentality that drove him to all his great achievements. If he were humble and meek, he probably wouldn't have been able to do what he did.

    Personally, I've always found him a straight-talker, no Bulls**t kind of guy rather than out and out arrogant. The one real blip - which was as self-centered as it was unclassy - was his speech upon winning the world cup ("I've done it", without any reference to the team).

  • absha1 on July 31, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    There was a very heartwarming documentary about Wasim Akram, in which Wasim Akram said that before every delivery he used to go to Imran and say, "Captain, what should I bowl next?" and Imran would tell him what to do. Imran in the same documentary talks about how, as Wasim did not have any first class experience, he had to give him the match sense as to how to take wickets, how to attack the batsman mentally, and teach him about setting fields. There is no arrogance here when he talks about his young bowlers. This is mentoring, with Imran passing his knowledge and expertise to the next generation. Wasim and Waqar went on to become great bowlers, and that is a great legacy. As is picking Inzimam and sticking with him, sending him out in the 92 WC semifinal when Miandad was asking for Wasim to come out.

  • absha1 on July 31, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    @Roger C You say Imran used to hide himself to protect his poor fielding. What nonsense. Imran was the captain. He used to be at Mid Off or Mid On directing the bowlers instead of fielding in the slips. With Wasim and Waqar he used to be there telling how to ball the next delivery, how to plan the next line and length. He used to do this not ball by ball, but over by over. He was effectively bowling even when he was fielding, which is why he talks about Wasim and Waqar in such paternalistic terms, which sound arrogant, but are the words of a master teacher proud of his charges. So stop with the snide comments and learn to appreciate that this man was part of the action on the field possibly more than anybody else in the history of the game.

  • wasimpakistan on July 31, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    Before the advent of neutral umpires it was felt that outsiders were about as likely to get an LBW against Pakistan in Pakistan as they were a warm welcome in a redneck bar

    Pakistan were given 164 LBWs to their opponents' in 78 !,

    52 examples of alleged ball- gouging by Pakistan bowlers in a video sequence compiled by Chris Cowdrey.

    Imran was master of ........... You have to be objective in assessment of Imran as a bowler and have to take in to account that he has been helped by Pakistani's umpire and reverse swing got by opening the bottels.

  • Waqas_Rahman on July 31, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    @ Roger C:

    My friends, thanks for the jokes. Now time to turn jokes into facts :).

    Pakistan had commanding captains before him...Captains like AH Kardar (do ask ur grandpa how good a captain he was ), Fazal Mehmood, Majid Khan etc. Most of the bowlers at that time or even still today are average fielders. He played 88 test matches so think before u say that he was injured for significant part of carrer..and even him being injured for some part of his carreer, he has dat great a record which makes him a true legend, a fighter. In 92 he batted at no.3 and 4 and performed. He lead from the front..like a true leader. His team's batting wasnt performing so he came up the order and boy how well he performed in big games. Inzamam performed well...Yes...And he was the one who picked Inzamam and waqar from the nets at local ground and put him straight in the WC team when every one was against Inzi and waqar..which shows his eye for talent and he is greater than what he claims..

  • latraffic on July 31, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    All those who can't digest Iimran Khan dare to mention his name to your women.

  • Bilal_Choudry on July 31, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    @RogerC so you think imran at 39 years of age and an injured shoulder should have bowled at 90 miles an hour and opened the ininning in 92 to be called great ?

    The truth is he lead from the front and did what other were not willing to do its not a secret that pakistani batsman struggle on bouncy and seaming conditions and imran put his hand up that he will go up the order to protect the vulnerable middle order it was because of him that inzi suceeded infact the only reason inzi was playing was because imran resisted all the pressure to drop him .... so if you dont know what actually happened you should keep your opinions to your self

  • m.a.khokhar on July 31, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    One of the true legend , one of the very best Captain in the world of all time, one of the best fast bowler, and one of the best allrounder in the world .. what else u want then?? There won't b many better player then him.. he was like a tiger in the feild to tear away every one.. what an impact player , what a role model for everybody in. The world .. A true true legend

  • RogerC on July 31, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Imran's greatness is partly due to others. Pakistan never had a commanding captain like him before or after. Does that make Imran a true global great or just show the poor state Pakistan cricket? He was a very average fielder who used to hide himself in the field and dropped sitters. True, he bowled very well in a few series but also was injured for a significant part of his career. In the WC 92, he batted at No. 3 and 4 ahead of talented players like Salim Malik and killed overs. He succeeded only because of a wonderful Inzamam-ul-Haq scoring quickly at the end. And with a lot of luck - after getting bowled out for 70 odd runs against England, rain saved Pakistan. A loss there would have put Pakistan out of WC 92. So, is he really that great as he claims? Not very sure.

  • the_blue_android on July 31, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    What's with everyone here complaining about his arrogance? Why does everyone need to be humble and down to earth? Why do we want same feel good template answers from every sportsman? People, its OK to be not humble.

  • on July 31, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    Prominent Imran Khan and his past record on leadership, his uncontaminated career in politics and his everlasting powerful influence in Pakistani government and on run of the mill people, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Pakistanis to opt Imran Khan to be the president of their country.

  • latraffic on July 31, 2010, 2:06 GMT

    Imran Khan , the pride of Pakistan. Liked by friends and foes alike ,a fierce Pathan .Thousands have been named IMRAN KHAN after him across Pakistan and India, I can't wait to see him as prime minister of Pakistan.

  • Meety on July 31, 2010, 0:53 GMT

    A top class cricketer, I remember the season he had with NSW, they won just about everything that year. He does come off a little arrogant in the interview, but hey he is entitled to his opinion and his record speaks for itself. He wouldn't make my all time XI, the allrounder spot would go to either Sobers or Miller - players I never saw.... Of players I have seen he would take the allrounder spot ahead of Botham or Kallis. If Ihad to select a specialist captain it would be a choice between Mark Taylor & Imran. On the topic of bowling captains - many have said that Warne was the greatest Test captain Australia NEVER had. I personally believe wicket keepers are the best placed to be captain, and it is a natural bridge between batsmen & bowler, they are the focal point for enthusiasm in the field. I think Akram gets a nod for being un an fulfilled alrounder, he could of been Khan like with the bat.

  • olepolice on July 31, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    @pakspin, Imran is my one of my favorite all time players but please do not mention him as better than the GREATEST of them all Sir Garry Sobers, when Imran can boel fast, leg spin , off spin set the record for the highest test score, and average 58then we can talk

  • sabee66 on July 31, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    a true legend on whcih the whole nation will be proud of , forever one complaints, why dont he fix the circket in Pakistan, i bet if he takes charege he can be a hero of Pakistan forever and then the country will be fixed afterwards IMran khan Zindabad

  • vinaykn on July 31, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    He was awesome. Greatest cricketer of all the time. I feel lucky to watch while he was playing.

  • Attractivue on July 30, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    @ treve, Imran was struggling with his hamstring and had bowled 11 consecutive overs, what do you expect? Keep bowling to one of the greatest players ever when you are at your worst?

  • on July 30, 2010, 23:07 GMT

    Imran is a gr8 cricketer. He always gives me an impression of a Loin standing in the middle of the ground (Either batting, bowling or handling the team).

  • on July 30, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Imran Khan. Great cricketer. I remember him putting the fear of god into a very good England team in 1982 in particular Allan Lamb. The sad thing is he can sometimes distort the facts a little. Yes, Pakistan was a good team under his captaincy. Should have been a great team when you look at just how gifted those players were during his reign. As for the time he captained Pakistan in the West Indies where he said they would have won 2-0. Pakistan played well in the first test and deserved to win but, on the hand the West Indies had just obliterated Pakistan in the one dayers. Imran in particular taking a massive pasting off the West Indian batsman. There is no way in anyone's world that Pakistan were anywhere as good as that West Indies side. That said, Pakistan always lifted their game when playing the best team in the world. Same old, same old!

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on July 30, 2010, 22:06 GMT

    @Reg_Dyer "Imran had the highly impressive batting average against the West Indies of...27!"

    That's still a lot higher than his bowling average against them.......'nuff said.

  • Vakbar on July 30, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Ahhh...as we see another spineless pakistan batting performance due the fact that controversy has meant there are NO established test players in the top 6, it is great to read about the era of the Mighty Khan. How on earth he was captain of Pakistan for 10 YEARS is beyond me...undisputed at that. What an era, what a man.

  • mlaxmi on July 30, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    cheater doesn't feel bad that he did ball tempering. he feels bad that he disclosed it to the reporter! shame on u.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on July 30, 2010, 20:38 GMT

    @manasvi_lingam: Imran has a problem praising anyone except himself. Even the world cup victory of 1992 was his personal dream, personal effort, and therefore personal success. His victory speech was about him and even failed to mention the two heroes Miandad and Wasim Akram.

  • putrevus on July 30, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    Imran Khan as captain helped Imran Khan as bowler and Batsmen, whenever opposing players smashed him all over the park he removed himself from attack,came back to bowl when that attacking batsman got out and when as batsmen when going was good he promoted himself and made cheap runs.

    What great knock as batsmen he played to bail his team out of trouble Botham and Kapil dev played match winning/saving knocks him and far better batsmen than he ever was.But he was dodgy and awkard batsmen who to justify his place developed his batting in last stages of his career.

    He was great bowler who could bowl very fast.He never had great success with ball in India but lot of success against India in pakistan which leads me to believe the ball tampering and biased umpiring were lot to do with it.

  • aztecs on July 30, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Imran was good but i would say he was selfish. The reason why i say that is because he was only concerned about his own success. If he really cared about the affairs of Pakistan cricket he would have stayed on to help the administration before turning to politics. I also think more praise should have been given to people like Kapil Dev, as he was someone who was extremely courageous. He bowled for India, batted for India and didnt want to miss a game. Cant forget the 4 sixes he hit against England to avoid the follow on. He was great until someone waved a bag full of money lol. On that note i think the ICC should be more involved in match fixing. i.e. Annaul accounts submissions.

  • Sanks555 on July 30, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Great interview. Insightful and honest.

    @Sachin Datta Imran did not praise himself only. He also praised Viv Richards, Botham, Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Holding, Akram, and Waqar.

    He did not give opinions, he gave facts.

    And as he told more than once, there were many more talented than him. Yet, he proved to be a better player than others more talented because of his attitude (and intelligence).

    His talk about neutral umpire was good. But he forgot the Test in Pakistan where he and Sarfaraz Nawab were bowling bouncers twice the height of Gundappa Vishwanath to save a Test and the umpires were ruling them as legitimate deliveries. If there were neutral umpires, India would have won the Test.

  • D.Nagarajan on July 30, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Always a pleasure to read King Khan's interview, what a player. Ran the team like a true ivy league CEO.

  • raheem030766 on July 30, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    Imran Khan is undoubtedly the BEST captain Pakistan has ever produced. However, I am of the view he would have not been as successful as he was if he did not have Javed Miandad in the team. Just like Imran looked after the bowling, Miandad nurtured the batting. Furthermore, Miandad was a very unselfish cricketer and always played for his country and like Imran went out to win. He was also totally loyal to Imran and on number of occasions gave up captaincy in the best interest of the team, a truly patriotic Pakistani. It is disappointing Imran hardly ever recognises the contribution Miandad made towards the success of TEAM PAKISTAN and his success as Pakistan captain whereas Miandad devotes a chapter in his book on Imran Khan.

  • on July 30, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    The 70s and 80s was the best era of cricket. Because at that time the best cricketers played. The best fast bowlers, batsmen and all rounders played in that era.

    West Indies: Holding, Garner, Richards, Lloyd, Marshall etc Australia: Lillee, Chappel, Thomson, Border etc. Pakistan: Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas etc. India: Kapil Dev, Gavaskar etc. England: Boycott, Gooch, Botham etc. New Zealand: Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe etc.

  • VivaVizag on July 30, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Admittedly he is still a CHEAT!

  • absha1 on July 30, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    @ Reg_Dyer You are right, an overall batting average of 27 against the West Indies is third rate. But Imran, as he himself points out, had a slow start to his career, and he built himself up through sheer will and character - that is why he is a legend.

    Consider Imran as captain (he was really average before taking the reins - averaging 25 as batsman and bowler).

    Consider the nine tests he captained (three series) that went 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, with his 45 wickets against Richards and co. at a bowling average of 14.87, and 356 runs at an average of 32. Imran took two of the three man of the series awards.

    I remember that series, and it was awesome; with batsmen coming in with broken wrists and noses to save matches, and bowlers attacking hard. It was way more exciting than the 2005 ashes.

    Check this link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/jun/14/cricket

    Just spectacular cricket.

  • on July 30, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    One of the greatest cricketers to come out of Pakistan

  • pakspin on July 30, 2010, 18:29 GMT

    best alrounder in history of the game.. end quote

  • crikkfan on July 30, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    in 1988 WI were not as dominant as they were in the earlier years - holding, garner and roberts had since retired and ambrose was just making his debut. In the only test that Pak beat WI, Richards and Marshall ( the #1 and #2 key players for WI) did not play because of injuries and Greenidge was the captain. That said it is very creditable to hold on to a drawn series but not as great as it is made out to be. personally for imran it was a watershed series as he got the MoS award

  • Waqas_Rahman on July 30, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    I can see jelousy filled Indian friends. Grow up !!!

    And all those Talking about biased umpiring...Before neutral umpires came into cricket...every umpire supported his own country.. anil kumble wouldnt have got 10 wickets, Pakistan would have beaten WI not only in 88 but also in 2000. Same was the case in England and Australia...and Imran was the first crickter who rose the issue of neutral umpires...so stop crying my indian friends.

    The greatest all rounder to gave played cricket...Averaging 22 with ball and 37 wid bat...No one comes even close to him...

    Kapil averages 31 with bat and 29 with ball Bothan 33 wih bat and 28 with ball Hadlee averages 27 with bat and 22 with ball. Pollock averages 32 with bat and 23 with ball.

    Garry Sobers the only all rounder who matches his stats...but he was a batting allrounder...where as rest were bowling allrounders...

  • on July 30, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    @ sachin dutta ... brother dont be sad coz he dint say good about kapil dev ........ he is the person who knows cricket very well nn true person who dnt care..... wat outcome will be ...... he did praise players if u can read but he told da trusth about them .. we all know imran is great and he know that too ... so wats the problem ..... and dnt be so emotional ..... i dnt understand 1 thing iam sorry but mostly indians cry when sum 1 dnt praise dem ... like micheal hart who wrote 100 most influential man ... u all people cried why there is no ghandi in 100 ..so he did wrote but out of 100 for ur people sake ...please stop being emotional

  • mrcruizy on July 30, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    To Sachin Dutta :: are u kidding me mate? hahahaha do u even understand what he was asked and how he answered?? do u seriously knew Tony Greig, Lawrence Rowe, Roy Fredericks? these names ever came across ur mind that he mentioned? its all praise for them..best talent was wasim BESIDE micheal holding..did u read that? Chappel was the best captain..what does this mean? jeff T bowling full tosses but still he probably was the fastest ? what does this statement say mate?? u r slipping off the line which i believe is because he didnt rate Kapil Dev in the best list or may b better than himself or botham? r u kidding me?? was he even better than these two?? atleast u should take a look at the questions asked..or if u r so much better why dont u become a journalist and interview these great players ur self mate?? why do u Indians alwayz have problem with Legends from pakistan tell me?? even the last article written about Imran ( spirit of cricket speach ) by an Indian had all the negatives..

  • oracle80 on July 30, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Arshad Jamal Don't intend to take any gloss of Imran Khan, he is what he is, and there can't be anybody else like him, but his grudge against Javed Miandad was also well known. Imran could have done better in this interview by praising Miandad for his own achievements as a captain as Miandad was the main tactician and the game planner in the field which was quite evident in the stress situations and without him Imran couldn't even dream about winning the WC. And yes, if there was a batting captain I have ever seen nurturing the bowlers and using them more then their potential then it was Javed Miandad.

  • on July 30, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    The one shame from imrans career is that he could not prepare a captain like himself!

  • Silverstar on July 30, 2010, 16:23 GMT

    if i recall... isnt this the same fella that took himself off when Viv came to bat lol

  • gallant_cricketer on July 30, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    Sachin Dutta: Since, Imran is not playing any more, he can be less modest and be just honest and upfront. He is telling his true thinking and he is not shouting. In fact, test cricket was of higher quality in the 80s than present day so I suppose all those great players including Holding, Lillee, Chappell, Majid, Lloyd, Richards, Gavaskar are entitled to shout.

  • gallant_cricketer on July 30, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Imran performed more than his intrinsic ability and talent. He built himself through sheer will power but it did not happen overnight. Until 1980 (even after good showing in Sydney and West Indies, and not bad performance in WSC), he was still an above-average bowler. In 1979, Bishen Bedi acknowledged in an interview that Imran was a very hard working player. It started to pay off during the 1981-82 tour of Australia because then he had become a complete fast bowler. He gave a very torrid time to the Australian batsmen including Greg Chappell (trapped him plumb LBW at 199 but given not out). Mike Brearly was the first to acknowledged that Imran was the best bowler in the world. I remember arguing with some friends in college (before the 1982 tour of England and the 1983 series against India) that Imran was now the best bowler in the world and that he would now dominate the cricket world. Some friends laughed at my comments but seeing his blowing quality it was obvious. I was right.

  • gallant_cricketer on July 30, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    RATNESH64: One can be a good loser or one can be a bad loser. Why not try to be a good loser, for a change?

  • MadeInIndia on July 30, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Too much Self-Praise and BOASTING. This guy taught WASIM bowling? Crap. So he used to go and teach him how to bowl every ball? Thats sheer micro-management.

    Imran just shut up and dont talk like a politician that you are trying to be.

  • manasvi_lingam on July 30, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    A nice interview. Unlike most people Imran khan made his point without resorting to the usual convention and praising everyone. He was definitely the most gifted allrounder of that era.

  • nachiketajoshi on July 30, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    Great player and even a greater captain. You should have asked about getting Gavaskar out for 12 times!

  • Nrao786 on July 30, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    Very good insight into a legend of cricket and particularly for Pakistan. He was a giant for Pakistan, on and off the field...he provided great spine to a team led by reluctant leaders who preferred participation over any sense of victory.

  • waspsting on July 30, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    probably the hardest working cricketer ever. Who, of those who saw him in his early days, could have predicted how great an all rounder he'd turn out to be? Who, of those who only saw his prime years, could have imagined that he had been so ordinary in his early days? Mindblowing.

  • on July 30, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    Imran Khan who is my inspiration since my childhood as a cricketer and then as a politician. I strongly believe that only Imran Khan will deliver my vision and ideology, he is presenting my feelings being a common Pakistani. Imran Khan is the only leader of Pakistan who feels for Pakistan. Inshaallah, in next election he will do upset and bring back Pakistan to its previous position and then move it forward. I believe and feel that one day he can make our nation independent, secure, sovereign and united.

  • kdcricket on July 30, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    Imran Khan was born to be a leader of men, fearless, decisive and successful. His Pathan ancestry added to his bravado. His case can be a serious lesson on autocratic leadership in B Schools. However, the criticism I have against his style of functioning is the fact that he never nurtured a successor, which was necessary after a period of such domineering leadership as his. It is true that it may be nigh impossible to have another leader of his stature, but then his aura diminished even the second best after him.

  • mcaiyzs2 on July 30, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    @cricket_fan, The only way the neutral umpires would have stopped Pakistan trouncing India in 1982-1983, is if they stood behind every Indian batsmen and stopped the ball from crashing the stumps and stopping all the nicks to the keeper. You must have been watching a very different series to everyone, Imran was in a world of his own during that series driven and determined to get revenge for losing the preceding series to India. If you want to see truly awful umpiring see the preceding series before this one in 1982 Between Indian and Pakistan

  • farazzubair on July 30, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    I am a Pakistani and I do admire Imran Khan as a living legend.I do admire his contribution and his awesome play and leadership skills.I grew up watching Cricket at a time when there were only two true legends in Pakistani Cricket. Imran and Miandad. I closely followed the game at that time and anyone who did and had the slightest of cricket understanding would agree, if Imran laid down the foundation to a wonderful Pakistani team then he himself shouldnt talk about the down slide it suffered. In his quest to derail Miandad, Imran openly supported Akram at a time when Miandad had won the series in England and in New Zealand. He had always found a way to cut about him, not forgetting how he dropped him during the 1992 World cup and did talk about missing Waqar but never about Miandad who proved to be the ultimate triumphant. By backing Wasim at such a time, Imran himself paved the way for the downslide Pakistan faced later on.Had he allowed Miandad to continue it might never hv happened

  • on July 30, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    Great interview from the great man. I love reading Imran's interview, he was indeed a greatest captain we had, probably the only one to lead Pakistan who did not face any controversy while he was a captain. @Sachin Dutta He didn't brag about himself in fact he just answered the questions of the interviewer. Most of the questions were about Imran only so obviously he was supposed to talk about himself not others, hope you understand that.

  • Reg_Dyer on July 30, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    Imran had the highly impressive batting average against the West Indies of...27! A legend in his own mind as much as elsewhere!

  • on July 30, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    @Andrew Sam: I think there is some misunderstanding. I am not claiming Mr.Khan's captaincy ruined certain fast bowlers. His claim that he played a large part in W & W's success is political BS (you never get to hear the other side and politicians never talk about failures due to them in public). There are several comtemporaries like Aaquib Javed, Azeem Hafeez, Saleem Jafar etc... who did not succeed to the extent of W & W. Can I now say that AJ, AH & SJ failed because of Mr.Khan, absurd isnt it?

  • taq0000 on July 30, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    For the last 10 years of his career Imran averaged over 50 with the bat and under 20 with the ball, incomparable anywhere. no allrounder in history can compete.

  • on July 30, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    He is simply a genius... wrecked WestIndies, england and Aus in thier homes... Luv ur arrogance and pride :)

  • intcamd on July 30, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Imran was a great player no doubt, but unfortunately his ego more than matched his talent and his deeds. And when he is not touting his own accomplishments, he is bragging about the Pakistani team (of his time only), and pulling the others down, except WI (because he would like a complete fool if he tried badmouthing the WI team of the 1975-85 timeframe).

    If performance against WI was the yardstick, Gavaskar would be numero uno, but I did n't hear Imran say anything positive about Sunil.

    I guess he is a politician now (does not seem so successful there), but it seems that he always played one, even when he was playing cricket on field. And those excuses on the ball tampering - please!

  • on July 30, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Imran Khan is a Genius MasAllah

  • on July 30, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Leaders aren't born. Neither are great artists, but both are born with potential. If being a leader means challenging the status quo, then you need youthful rebelliousness to stand up and be counted. This is a character trait which Imran was born with or developed very early in life, it is not a learned skill set.

  • on July 30, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    its cool to read these stuffs...

    is pakistan / pakistanis lerans something from this ???????

  • on July 30, 2010, 11:20 GMT

    yes . he is true about kapil dev. as kapil dev could not become greatest allrounder of all time. he has to be contented to be normal allrounder like imran botham etc., all of whom could not score lot more runs or took more wkts then him. who had fitness problems all time in comparison with kapil who hardly missed any series with his fitness.

    i guess in this time of cricket they would not have lasted more than couple of seasons with their level fitness.

  • on July 30, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    @Selvavinayagam which are the bowlers who faded away because of Imran's captaincy?

  • sherishahmir on July 30, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    Hats off to one of the great of all times in bowling like we got in batting Sir V Richards.

  • Realcharm on July 30, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    Imran Khan is no doubt the person who always talk on facts and gives impressive authentic reasons which anyone can accept. I wish from the depth of my heart to see PAKISTAN to be governed by such person

  • Chris_P on July 30, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    It still amazes me that the games played in WSC have never been recognized by the authorities when every one of the best cricketers of that era stated it was the hardest, toughest cricket matches they were ever involved in. How can the authorities close their eyes and ears and pretend this didn't happen? Yet all the tours to South Africa during apartheid have been recognized as first class matches? Imran Khan was the ultimate cricketer's cricketer. He produced results on all surfaces against all standards of opposition both home, away, the sub continent, against the West Indies at their best and in Australia and was one of the top performers in WSC against the best bowlers and batsmen of the era. To me, that entitles him to be able to strut all he wants.

  • RogerC on July 30, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Three very nice photos. Is he the best looking cricketer ever? Of course, he talks sense and non-sense mixed, this is his talking style.

  • on July 30, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Interesting interview/discussion...but the way he handled, was a bit down for me. He's such a great player and he need to remember that great player don't shout about themselves. I was one of his fan but this interview let me down...He was all praise for himself and what he did during that time. He should be little modest and could've praised others more then his own.

  • ww113 on July 30, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Imran produced many memorable performances.Just a few that come to mind now : i.His two sixes off Bishen Bedi to seal vicotry in a tense run chase in Karachi in 1978. ii. The twelve wickets at Sydney in 1976-77. iii.A memorable hundred against the West Indies pace attack at Lahore in 1980. iv.His domination of the formidable Indian batting line up in 1982-83. v.Series victories in India and England in 1987.vi.The three epic series against West Indies from 1986-1990. vii.Batting all day with Waseem Akram to save a test in Adelaide in 1989-90 and the crowning glory of the World Cup victory in his last match.There are many more memorable Imran moments. Above all he turned Pakistan into a formidable side.His is a rich legacy.

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    he is simply the Genius ........

  • Stark62 on July 30, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Top 5 cricketers of all time 1. Gary Sobers, 2. Donald Bradman, 3. Imran Khan, 4. Vivian Ricahrds, 5. ?????

    Don't know who can take the 5th spot but it'll be out of Tendulkar, Hadlee, Akram, Murli, Warne, Graeme Pollock, Holding, Malcolm Marshall, K. Dev.

  • AliOnline on July 30, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Those who only see his arrogance should realise that it is exactly this arrogance, pride and being full of himself that actually led Pakistan to so much success. It's a trait of a real warrior! May God bless Imran Khan.

  • on July 30, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    he is such an inspiration for me rite frm my childhood....

    great fighter.

  • cricket__fan on July 30, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Pure arrogance - he says that he would have won 2-0 with neutral umpires againt the West Indies in 1988, but he ignores the fact that if there were neutral umpires in the Pak-India series of 1982-83 (where he too 40 wickets), he would not have taken more than 15-20 wickets and Pakistan would not have won. I watched all 6 test matches of that series and the umpiring was attrocious - totally biased in favour of Pakistan.

  • Khuramp on July 30, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    @mk49_van - yeah yeah when the paks do it it becomes cheating? get a life.

  • on July 30, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    Intresting, should Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram speak next. What about all other bowlers who played and failed during the same timeframe as Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram? Do you own their failures, Mr.Khan? Typical politico BS. Why do great cricketers like Imran/Murali meddle with something that they appear to have no clue? No one is greater than Cricket itself, a sport.

  • on July 30, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    I've been a huge fan of great Imran Khan. his fast bowling, his growing into a quickest bowler in the world from a medium fast bowler. His leadership was exceptional against the best team those days. I always admire his ability to never give up in difficult times. He just got better with age in his playing days. And still he has that in him after struggling for so many years in politics. A great fighter in my views.

  • ww113 on July 30, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Imran was the greatest cricketer ever produced by Pakistan,not just for his all round abilities but also for his captaincy and his charisma.I also admire him for his social work.But I wish he had never gone into politics.

  • sani007 on July 30, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    IMran khan was always the bst like vavian richard never required all those modern fancy bats to score tons of match winning runs in the same way Imran Khan Niazi never required bottle caps for winning and taking wickets .he is a natural champion.

  • on July 30, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    He is a GENIUS ..........

  • on July 30, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Really sense a lot of arrogance in this interview, he seems too full of himself, its almost like the Hall of Fame Speech Michael Jordan gave last year. That's the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of these all time great sportsman. Ali would try to sound arrogant but still people knew he was the most heartful and sincere man at heart, but you just dont get that feel with Jordan or people like Imran. They have achieved great things, but they need to stop being so full of themselves. Most of my friends tremendously admire Imran.

  • on July 30, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    Modesty is not a virtue that Imran Khan possesses. But when you are that great, modesty is a virtue you can do without :)

  • NeilCameron on July 30, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    When will he become President of Pakistan?

  • on July 30, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    In an interview Sunny Gavaskar once asked Imran Khan "how many wickets"? Imran replied 311 (at that time Imran was still playing - he ended with 362 if my memory serves me correct). Sunny then said "I never asked you how many wickets on the field Immy, I asked you how many wickets off it!!" Imran was left red-faced, and said "Sunny you'll get me into trouble!!"

  • ejsiddiqui on July 30, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Great article, Let me rephrase the title

    "More I read more I get inspired"

  • werisehigh on July 30, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    the best and most inspiring player i have ever seen

  • ejsiddiqui on July 30, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    ‎'The more the pressure, the stronger I got' Imran Khan

    What a great line. Suggests a very strong mental control

  • Jasemkhan on July 30, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Imran Khan For Me One Of The Finest Cricketer Of The Century A Cricketer Pakistan Will Never Find In Centuries To Come I Salute You My Brother

  • RATNESH64 on July 30, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Well Imran said that he drew 3 test series against W.I. but all they are only 3 test series & not by team captained by Clive Lloyod.From Nov.1974 to March 1985, Loyod was captain for W.I. EXCEPT Garry Packer episode.He took 40 wickets in 1982-83 series,great achivements,but all of them atleast 10 wickets gifted to him by Paki Umpire.He had a 2-0 lead,after third match out of six, then what was the reason & subject that he declared when Miyadad was on 280 not out.Imran is successful captain , I appriciate, but after that I would more happy if HE gest success in his personnal life & politics

  • Nadeem1976 on July 30, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Imran khan was a leader not a captain , he was inspirational and he is best against the best teams and rivals at that time. He used to groom young players and all his groomed players became great players after ward. He was guru and leader with full skills.

    If i see the positive side of ball tempring then he is the poineer of making changes in balling policies. Today you see bowlers have no respect becuase of string rules by ICC. No bouncers and what ever.

    He was best against india and westindies and thats what makes him legend.

    Who ever say what ever. In Pakistan cricket he is consider as the best complete cricketer. So no bad comments please.

  • on July 30, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    the great Imran was what drew me to cricket and fast bowling. He was one of the best cricketers in an era of true cricket legends. I dont think the game will ever see that time of abundant talent again because of the commercialization of the game in the recent years. Its easy to romantacize a bygone era, but with greats like Richard Hadlee, Malcom Marshall, Holding, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Botham, Miandad ... all playing Test cricket at the same time.. I mean wow! How can one not call it the golden age of Cricket? Imrans impact on Pakistan goes beyond sports.. its his zeal and spirit in politics and social work that is inspiring generations of young pakistanis. Thanks Imran for all the great moments in Cricket that you helped create. Best of luck with everything else.

  • green_bomb on July 30, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    I was born in 1989...Imran left cricket in 1992...Who is my favourite cricketer?...Imran khan....I think it was not just his cricketing talent, but the way he conducted himself impresses me more...High class cricketer,The greatest captain,and has single handidly changed Pakistan Cricket.I havent even seen him playing cricket but still I want to be a fast bowler on these dead wickets...Thats what he has done... No wonder Pak keeps on producing Asif's and Amir's..Not to mention Waqar and Wasim Pak Zindabad

  • cricket4shafiq on July 30, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Imran Khan , the best ver cricketer, i rate him above Garry Sobers.

    He was the stuff of imaginations and dreams, heart throb of generations with unmatched legacy.

    I wish he could have not come in politics, but again, we many got to understand that our syste can not be changed , even by genius individuals like Imran, we need a big big team efort, under more shrewd leader. We still love you immi.

  • Cool_Jeeves on July 30, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    It may be unfashionable to say so, since you have Bradman, Sobers, Richards et al. But in my books, Imran Khan is the greatest player of all time. Fabulous averages, against the best opposition, and unmatched leadership qualities, and successful.

  • redneck on July 30, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    interesting reading imrans take on batting captains not understanding the bowler. bowling captians almost dont exist in test cricket these unless you count vettori whos a bit of everything. it also makes you think when pakistan had that big leadership vacum a few months ago, why didnt umar gul or kaneria get considered given imrans logic?

  • Bilal_Choudry on July 30, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    His batting skills were underrated ... I think in the 10 years of his captaincy he ave around 50

  • on July 30, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    I never knew reading his interview would make me cry, I guess this is what happens when you have seen the likes of such a man who captained a team who has seen more captains than players in the last so many years. Imran was a champ and a proud Pashtun who took pressure as a sign of strength. This has to be the asset what the PCB should look into before choosing any player as captain. Currently the only man who can take pressure as a sign of strength to a certain extent is Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul and Aamir. But to choose one as captain would only be Afridi as he is more aggressive and hates to loose. Problem with him is that he is no Imran Khan and for the PCB to find an Imran Khan would be to knock at heaven's door.

  • Percy_Fender on July 30, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Imran Khan was someone who was apecially crafted. He had everything. The great looks,a fairly privileged family background, ivy league education and sporting talent. He also had the debonair charm which made him so very attractive socially. It did not surprise anyone when he married a billionaire's beautiful daughter half his age who had the immense selflessness that is so essential to rough it out in Pakistan for her husband and children. Despit all this I will remember him only for his ideological inclinations and his immense conviction that he was above all else. His 100 wickets in an year is particularly revealing because that was when the world got to sense for the first time that ball tampering had been institutionalised in Pakistan cricket. 40 of those came against India for whom Imran has always had a grudging place in his mind.For some reason, beating India mattered more to Imran than anything else. Aitcheson and Oxford made very little difference to Imran Khan.

  • AhmadSaleem on July 30, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    He has got best batting average among four great all rounders and second best bowling average among them. Had he not lost his three peak years he would have been averaging 40+ with the bat and below 20 with the ball. He is the greatest genuine all rounder the game has ever seen. I haven`t watch him playing but stats speak for him.

  • Shani_LALA on July 30, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    IMRAN was the best CAPTAIN, the best WARRIOR and the best LEADER of the World Cricket. What an achievment that he never lost a series to the Mighty WestIndies who were far more challenging than the today's Australians.....I wish may Pakistan have another captain and player like him.

  • mk49_van on July 30, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    I saw how Immi swung with the old ball in that 40 wicket series on the dead wickets of Pak against India. Bottle caps? Hell, yes!

  • on July 30, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    Have always been a HUGE fan of Imran Khan..... probably the only cricketer to influence a generation of cricketers after him.... His greatness can be measured from the fact that not only the Wasims, Waqars and the Inzamams looked upto him but also the Salman Butts and the Shahid Afridis.... I am disappointed to have not seen him play in full flight (he retired by the time I really started to understand cricket).... but for me "Imran bhai" will always remain a hero just for the reasons mentioned earlier....

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  • on July 30, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    Have always been a HUGE fan of Imran Khan..... probably the only cricketer to influence a generation of cricketers after him.... His greatness can be measured from the fact that not only the Wasims, Waqars and the Inzamams looked upto him but also the Salman Butts and the Shahid Afridis.... I am disappointed to have not seen him play in full flight (he retired by the time I really started to understand cricket).... but for me "Imran bhai" will always remain a hero just for the reasons mentioned earlier....

  • mk49_van on July 30, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    I saw how Immi swung with the old ball in that 40 wicket series on the dead wickets of Pak against India. Bottle caps? Hell, yes!

  • Shani_LALA on July 30, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    IMRAN was the best CAPTAIN, the best WARRIOR and the best LEADER of the World Cricket. What an achievment that he never lost a series to the Mighty WestIndies who were far more challenging than the today's Australians.....I wish may Pakistan have another captain and player like him.

  • AhmadSaleem on July 30, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    He has got best batting average among four great all rounders and second best bowling average among them. Had he not lost his three peak years he would have been averaging 40+ with the bat and below 20 with the ball. He is the greatest genuine all rounder the game has ever seen. I haven`t watch him playing but stats speak for him.

  • Percy_Fender on July 30, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Imran Khan was someone who was apecially crafted. He had everything. The great looks,a fairly privileged family background, ivy league education and sporting talent. He also had the debonair charm which made him so very attractive socially. It did not surprise anyone when he married a billionaire's beautiful daughter half his age who had the immense selflessness that is so essential to rough it out in Pakistan for her husband and children. Despit all this I will remember him only for his ideological inclinations and his immense conviction that he was above all else. His 100 wickets in an year is particularly revealing because that was when the world got to sense for the first time that ball tampering had been institutionalised in Pakistan cricket. 40 of those came against India for whom Imran has always had a grudging place in his mind.For some reason, beating India mattered more to Imran than anything else. Aitcheson and Oxford made very little difference to Imran Khan.

  • on July 30, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    I never knew reading his interview would make me cry, I guess this is what happens when you have seen the likes of such a man who captained a team who has seen more captains than players in the last so many years. Imran was a champ and a proud Pashtun who took pressure as a sign of strength. This has to be the asset what the PCB should look into before choosing any player as captain. Currently the only man who can take pressure as a sign of strength to a certain extent is Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul and Aamir. But to choose one as captain would only be Afridi as he is more aggressive and hates to loose. Problem with him is that he is no Imran Khan and for the PCB to find an Imran Khan would be to knock at heaven's door.

  • Bilal_Choudry on July 30, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    His batting skills were underrated ... I think in the 10 years of his captaincy he ave around 50

  • redneck on July 30, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    interesting reading imrans take on batting captains not understanding the bowler. bowling captians almost dont exist in test cricket these unless you count vettori whos a bit of everything. it also makes you think when pakistan had that big leadership vacum a few months ago, why didnt umar gul or kaneria get considered given imrans logic?

  • Cool_Jeeves on July 30, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    It may be unfashionable to say so, since you have Bradman, Sobers, Richards et al. But in my books, Imran Khan is the greatest player of all time. Fabulous averages, against the best opposition, and unmatched leadership qualities, and successful.

  • cricket4shafiq on July 30, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Imran Khan , the best ver cricketer, i rate him above Garry Sobers.

    He was the stuff of imaginations and dreams, heart throb of generations with unmatched legacy.

    I wish he could have not come in politics, but again, we many got to understand that our syste can not be changed , even by genius individuals like Imran, we need a big big team efort, under more shrewd leader. We still love you immi.