Imran Khan September 20, 2010

The flawed, the fabulous

Imran was a true hero and he had the cracks in his armour to prove it
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Imtiaz Sipra, the great sports editor of the News in Pakistan, was a blind drunkard. But he had the honesty of a drunk. "Imran Khan," he would say to me, "is the King of Pakistan. He is a champ. Pakistan cricket would be nothing without him. I tell you, kid, zero." Sipra's assertions were sometimes hard to substantiate, delivered from below a shock of white hair and from between a set of teeth that would have done the devil proud. His wrecked face would sparkle at the mention of Imran, at the mention of his brilliance, and even more at the mention of naughtiness. Imran, you see, was Sipra's idea of a true hero: flawed but magnificent.

Abdul Qadir, another grand Lahori, glowed similarly when the conversation turned to Imran. Their relationship had been much more complicated than people might have imagined. Imran had backed Qadir for much of his career, but there were times when Qadir had felt let down by his captain. Despite this there was deep affection. They had shared adventures. Imran was Qadir's idea of a leader: flawed but magnificent.

I first met Imran Khan when I was 13. It was a tour match at Chesterfield, a town with a crooked church steeple, and Pakistan were warming up for a Test match.

Imran was new to the captaincy. He was better known for his Oxford flamboyance and supposed arrogance than for his determination to become a great cricketer. Majid Khan had literally whipped Imran into shape by bullying him through extreme training sessions. Imran was a warrior leader, a man who brooked no nonsense, a Pathan in everything but location: fierce, proud and magnificent. Flawed, too, in that rarely a day passed without a newspaper photo of Imran dancing, drinking or debauching in some manner or the other.

At the tea interval in the Chesterfield game, several Pakistan players busied themselves washing their whites and hanging them out to dry on the pavilion balcony. Imran, of course, did no such thing. He strode down to the outfield, padded up and clutching a handful of cricket balls. Inevitably a crowd of young Pakistani fans gathered, scuffling to give their hero some practice. Curious to see the great captain in action, I joined them. My first observation about Imran was of the way he leaned forward and towards the bowler, almost toppling over. I can't remember any other batsman tottering so precariously. It was as if Imran was determined to force himself forward at every opportunity. When I first saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it reminded me of Imran's stance.

My first observation about Imran was of the way he leaned forward and towards the bowler, almost toppling over. I can't remember any other batsman tottering so precariously. When I first saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it reminded me of Imran's stance

Eventually I plucked up the courage to bowl at him. The grunts of disapproval he emitted when other boys slipped down leg or way outside off were enough to force me to be disciplined. It was then I got an insight into Imran's psychology. He stopped the other wannabes and insisted that only I bowl to him. In deepest Derbyshire I felt the glares of envious eyes and some murmurs about nepotism. They assumed I was from the Khan family. No such thing, of course, but you can understand their reaction - and my hope that he had identified me as a talent.

At the end of tea, Imran waved a regal glove in my direction: "That's enough, thank you," he intoned in his deep-throated drawl and he was off, sauntering past me back to the pavilion. At the close of play, as the crowd rushed the players, Imran ignored autograph hunter after autograph hunter. I too thrust my book in his direction, fully expecting an autocratic brush-off, but Imran broke his stride to scribble his first name before resuming his march of no autographs. This favouritism didn't go down too well with my friends from the tea interval, but to me it was the first evidence of the Great Khan's character: flawed but magnificent. To a British Asian short of role models, it was the scribble of destiny.

The incident at Chesterfield would have been enough to merit hero status on its own but Imran did then also go on to win Pakistan's first Test at Lord's, challenge the mighty West Indies for world supremacy, and win the World Cup. But everybody knows about that.

Imran Khan turned Pakistan from a collection of talented but generally ineffective individuals into a fighting, world-class team, leading by example and through sheer will. He was loyal to talent and dismissive of sycophants and easy riders. He battled for the success of the Pakistan cricket team, and for the honour of his country, on playing fields and in boardrooms. He unearthed some of the greatest talents you would ever see. He was a role model for Pakistanis all over the world, and he attracted a vast following from people of many other nationalities. Imran Khan was flawed, yes, but he was truly magnificent. For a good while, too, he was the King of Pakistan. If you have any doubts, look in my autograph book.

Kamran Abbasi is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 22, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    IMRAN KHAN THE BEST THERE WAS; THE BEST THERE IS; THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE;

  • Azfar on September 21, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    Kamran, Imran happens to my boyhood hero too and the hero worship continues to this day. What a man and what a cricketer! He was a cut above...I don't think people really appreciate his contribution to the game and Pakistan Cricket in particular. He started the concept of neutral umpiring..something which ICC could not do many years. He mentored so many players to greatness...Qadir, Akram, Waqar, Inzi to name a few. I have read all the books he has written, listened to virtually all his interviews. His knowledge of the game is unmatched. His clarity of thought unparrelled. I am yet to a see a captain of his abilities. As captain he averaged 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball in 48 tests. Leave aside his Cricket career, I think he is one of the greatest men of my generation. People may think I am going overboard....this prediction will come true in the next 10 years, Insha Allah.

  • on September 21, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    I wonder if I should comment on the brilliance of Khan or Brilliance of the article. Both merit my admiration. Bravo Kamran Abbassi for reintroducing the King Khan in such magnificent fashion and Bravo Imran Khan for your courage, leadership and the good name that you have brought to my country, Pakistan. I love you as Kamran Abbassi has described you - flawed but magnificent!

  • cricPassion2009 on September 21, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    As this article is about Imran, I whole-heartedly salute this awesome cricketer and captain. Kamran has not done justice to these great cricketer.

    Continuing my response on other 3 all-rounders, who can forget Ian Botham ? Another awesome batsman with a double-century against his name. 14 tons, 22 fifties. Glorious, colorful and proud player.

    And Hadlee is a bit of odd-man in this quartet. However, he'll be counted. His trademark is his bowling, an awesome bowler, perhaps the best in the quartet. He perhaps kept the other allrounders hunting his record.

    In summary, I would put Hadlee as bowling champ, Imran next only to Hadlee and both these are bowling all-rounders. Kapil and Botham are powerful and flamboyant batsman allrounders. And Imran again, is the most handsome cricketer.

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Hi I was the first one to comment on this article and when I said Imran Khan is the greatest cricketer Asia has ever produced I mean what he has done for cricket. The idea of neutral umpires, or the third umpire (TV Umpire) was his. It was he who took initiative against the so called biased with home team attitude of umpiresand called for neutral umpires in a series against India. As a playing captain he was always present at every ICC meeting to give new ideas. What have SRTendulkar or Kapil Dev have done for the game. Tendulkar is surely one of the greatest batsmen and his behavior on field is legendary but Imran Khan also earned respect from every opponent and they praise him and respects him even now. He excelled in every department of the game and most notably led his cornered tigers to world champs And Mr seriouslyknowscricket that blog does not mention the name of Keith Miller(second only to Sobers in great allrounder and Vinoo Mankad- greatest Indian allrounder).

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    (Continued)... under " Pervaiz Musharaf" but he refused as he didn't wanted to benefit from the situation and further he is being offered the chairmanship of the Pakistan Cricket board (PCB) about a hundred thousand times by the people and any ruling government further to it with out any accountability or limits, stills he refused to leave his principles. Yes may be his very personal life, his young days and his cricket had flaws but the man is unarguably Man of words and principle , yes you are right Wasim Akram is far better all rounder cricketer or may be a better technical captain, but he can't himself never ever match himself with IMRAN as he admit himself, no one can match Imran's courage determination, charisma, leadership, commitment and principles, @ Phillip get your self some life Dude ;)

  • cricPassion2009 on September 21, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Perhaps the most handsome cricketer ever.

    I've seen some comments here and cricket fans are not able to assess the other three in the famed quartet of all-rounders.

    Imran was a peerless captain, best of the four all-rounders in this regard, but Capt Kapil Dev won World Cup at the age of 24 ! Imran won world cup when he was 40 or so. But yes, Imran groomed many great players including Wasim Akram and Waqar younis. Kapil was a poor communicator, often looked like a village bumpkin !

    Kapil Dev was a powerful batsman, using heaviest bat, and was a a deadly runner between wickets (he has run 5 runs off single stroke a few times ), and also an extremely gifted fielder ( many direct hits to wicket to cause run-outs, and safe, brilliant catcher of the ball ). As bowler he slowed down after shin surgery, but unlike other 3 all-rounders, he played every hour,every day ( never used to take off from ground to rest in stands etc. ). Who can forget his 4 consecutive sixes to save a follow-on?

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    @ Mr Phillip ... see how is defending Pakistan culture? hehehheeh its really very funny, my friend Pakistani simply loves him he dun come to government and its does'nt show up in the votes not because his less popularity coz of corrupt politcal infrastructure we got and Mr. Khan refuse to adopt that culture and lean himself to that " level", you should research Pakistan little more before coming to comment on the culture? he wears " Shalwar Qameez" more than any cricket in the history of our sporting culture, he wanders among a common man more than any common man himself, you really need some real coffee dude, yes he is a foreign graduate yes he had an English wife but my friend does'nt know that Jemaima during here times in Pakistan converted to Pakistan culture, he never became English but she did even he never forced her that led to their separation as Khan didn't wanted her to forcefully adopt the customs... My dear friend the guy was offered Prime Minister Ship (continued)

  • SeriouslyKnowsCricket on September 21, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Great One Kamran! I fully agree Imaran Khan is the greatest all-rounder. For all you my friends. Please check http://myrunningtrack.blogspot.com/ for a comparison of Imran with other All rounders. Please don't forget to leave a message if you like the post.

  • on September 21, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    HE is simply an ICON of every Young pakistani 's HEART..

  • on September 22, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    IMRAN KHAN THE BEST THERE WAS; THE BEST THERE IS; THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE;

  • Azfar on September 21, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    Kamran, Imran happens to my boyhood hero too and the hero worship continues to this day. What a man and what a cricketer! He was a cut above...I don't think people really appreciate his contribution to the game and Pakistan Cricket in particular. He started the concept of neutral umpiring..something which ICC could not do many years. He mentored so many players to greatness...Qadir, Akram, Waqar, Inzi to name a few. I have read all the books he has written, listened to virtually all his interviews. His knowledge of the game is unmatched. His clarity of thought unparrelled. I am yet to a see a captain of his abilities. As captain he averaged 50 with the bat and 19 with the ball in 48 tests. Leave aside his Cricket career, I think he is one of the greatest men of my generation. People may think I am going overboard....this prediction will come true in the next 10 years, Insha Allah.

  • on September 21, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    I wonder if I should comment on the brilliance of Khan or Brilliance of the article. Both merit my admiration. Bravo Kamran Abbassi for reintroducing the King Khan in such magnificent fashion and Bravo Imran Khan for your courage, leadership and the good name that you have brought to my country, Pakistan. I love you as Kamran Abbassi has described you - flawed but magnificent!

  • cricPassion2009 on September 21, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    As this article is about Imran, I whole-heartedly salute this awesome cricketer and captain. Kamran has not done justice to these great cricketer.

    Continuing my response on other 3 all-rounders, who can forget Ian Botham ? Another awesome batsman with a double-century against his name. 14 tons, 22 fifties. Glorious, colorful and proud player.

    And Hadlee is a bit of odd-man in this quartet. However, he'll be counted. His trademark is his bowling, an awesome bowler, perhaps the best in the quartet. He perhaps kept the other allrounders hunting his record.

    In summary, I would put Hadlee as bowling champ, Imran next only to Hadlee and both these are bowling all-rounders. Kapil and Botham are powerful and flamboyant batsman allrounders. And Imran again, is the most handsome cricketer.

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Hi I was the first one to comment on this article and when I said Imran Khan is the greatest cricketer Asia has ever produced I mean what he has done for cricket. The idea of neutral umpires, or the third umpire (TV Umpire) was his. It was he who took initiative against the so called biased with home team attitude of umpiresand called for neutral umpires in a series against India. As a playing captain he was always present at every ICC meeting to give new ideas. What have SRTendulkar or Kapil Dev have done for the game. Tendulkar is surely one of the greatest batsmen and his behavior on field is legendary but Imran Khan also earned respect from every opponent and they praise him and respects him even now. He excelled in every department of the game and most notably led his cornered tigers to world champs And Mr seriouslyknowscricket that blog does not mention the name of Keith Miller(second only to Sobers in great allrounder and Vinoo Mankad- greatest Indian allrounder).

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    (Continued)... under " Pervaiz Musharaf" but he refused as he didn't wanted to benefit from the situation and further he is being offered the chairmanship of the Pakistan Cricket board (PCB) about a hundred thousand times by the people and any ruling government further to it with out any accountability or limits, stills he refused to leave his principles. Yes may be his very personal life, his young days and his cricket had flaws but the man is unarguably Man of words and principle , yes you are right Wasim Akram is far better all rounder cricketer or may be a better technical captain, but he can't himself never ever match himself with IMRAN as he admit himself, no one can match Imran's courage determination, charisma, leadership, commitment and principles, @ Phillip get your self some life Dude ;)

  • cricPassion2009 on September 21, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Perhaps the most handsome cricketer ever.

    I've seen some comments here and cricket fans are not able to assess the other three in the famed quartet of all-rounders.

    Imran was a peerless captain, best of the four all-rounders in this regard, but Capt Kapil Dev won World Cup at the age of 24 ! Imran won world cup when he was 40 or so. But yes, Imran groomed many great players including Wasim Akram and Waqar younis. Kapil was a poor communicator, often looked like a village bumpkin !

    Kapil Dev was a powerful batsman, using heaviest bat, and was a a deadly runner between wickets (he has run 5 runs off single stroke a few times ), and also an extremely gifted fielder ( many direct hits to wicket to cause run-outs, and safe, brilliant catcher of the ball ). As bowler he slowed down after shin surgery, but unlike other 3 all-rounders, he played every hour,every day ( never used to take off from ground to rest in stands etc. ). Who can forget his 4 consecutive sixes to save a follow-on?

  • on September 21, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    @ Mr Phillip ... see how is defending Pakistan culture? hehehheeh its really very funny, my friend Pakistani simply loves him he dun come to government and its does'nt show up in the votes not because his less popularity coz of corrupt politcal infrastructure we got and Mr. Khan refuse to adopt that culture and lean himself to that " level", you should research Pakistan little more before coming to comment on the culture? he wears " Shalwar Qameez" more than any cricket in the history of our sporting culture, he wanders among a common man more than any common man himself, you really need some real coffee dude, yes he is a foreign graduate yes he had an English wife but my friend does'nt know that Jemaima during here times in Pakistan converted to Pakistan culture, he never became English but she did even he never forced her that led to their separation as Khan didn't wanted her to forcefully adopt the customs... My dear friend the guy was offered Prime Minister Ship (continued)

  • SeriouslyKnowsCricket on September 21, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Great One Kamran! I fully agree Imaran Khan is the greatest all-rounder. For all you my friends. Please check http://myrunningtrack.blogspot.com/ for a comparison of Imran with other All rounders. Please don't forget to leave a message if you like the post.

  • on September 21, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    HE is simply an ICON of every Young pakistani 's HEART..

  • smalishah84 on September 21, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    @ FaisalKhan......"He was the original Imran Khan!, the others are fake ;)"......lol....true

  • BillyCC on September 20, 2010, 22:13 GMT

    Mohammad Ahklaq, Imran Khan would make any All Time World XI as the bowling all-rounder, if a selector wanted a batting-all rounder. My team would have Sobers at six, Gilchrist at seven and Khan at 8. I would favour Imran Khan over the likes of other bowling all-rounders like Kapil Dev, Shaun Pollock, Keith Miller, Wasim Akram etc. The only scenario I would favour another player is when I would want a left-arm fast bowler to complement the other fast bowlers (which I am pretty sure would all be right-arm bowlers picked from the likes of Marshall, Ambrose, Lillee, McGrath, etc. ). In this case, I might go for Wasim Akram.

  • on September 20, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    He was the original Imran Khan!, the others are fake ;) some names are only suited for one person and become his property, such was the case with Imran Khan! I read somewhere, that not only Pakistani team respected him, but even the opponets had huge respect for this great man, once in a hotel lobby, Pakistani and Indian team were there together, but Imran was yet to come from his room, and then finally he came, and everyone saw that not only Pakistani team rose up in respect but the Indians too!!!!

  • on September 20, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    King Khan is the greatest ever cricketer from Pakistan and I wish and hope that he will get a chance to lead our coutnry as well. We need a leader like Khan more then ever before.

  • fataquie on September 20, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Imran Khan was arrogant, disciplined, and goal oriented during his playing. He had Leadership by Fear during his playing days. I personally think his leadership skills have grown leaps and bounds after his retirement and when he joined politics.

  • Engle on September 20, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    As a young lad in Pakistan during the early 70's, I recall the selection of the Pak team to tour England in 1971 with great fervour. The one player I really wanted selected was Salahuddin. Was I ever disappointed when an unknown player called Imran Khan got the nod. Came to Canada soon after and lost all track of cricket. Slowly over the years, we kept getting snippets of cricket news and the one name that kept popping up was Imran Khan. Surely, this could not be the same IK I said, there must be another, as the one I saw couldn't play well. Imagine my astonishment when I discovered it was indeed the same one. He singularly changed my interest from ice-hockey back to cricket. Watching him play in Canada was one of my greatest sporting pleasures.

  • on September 20, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    Hi Everybody

    Please select a world eleven and see if you can select Imran Khan in the team. Please select atleast one player from each world eleven.

  • on September 20, 2010, 20:13 GMT

    He Surely is the King of Pakistan

  • MidhatS on September 20, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    In Imran's case it was never the batting average or his balling strike rate that made him one of the best the game has ever produced. Many batsman and ballers might have better stats than him but it was his persona, his character as a cricketer, his leadership qualities, his stance , his authority , his ever hunting eye for talent, and his passion that earns him a place way above others. You can never really find so many qualities in one cricketer. There was just something about him!

  • WRahman on September 20, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    @ Phil:

    On a serious note, that was really really funny.

  • on September 20, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    WE Love You IMRAN KHAN :))

  • rtmohanlal on September 20, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    Though an Indian,I always thought him as the best allrounder the game of cricket has ever produced.But some people here are getting over the moon with sarcastic comments when Kapil dev is talked of in the same league as Imran.I think that is unfair to Kapildev.When we take both test and 1 day cricket as a whole i think there is not that gap between these two as widely thought about. And Akram joins these two in the same league too.Imran was a far better bowler to Kapil in tests.Imran though possesed bat avg: of 37 against Kapil's 31, Kapil had str rate of 92 against Imran's 50.Doesn't that count?. Kapil was a far better allround fielder than Khan which compensates for his slightly less captaincy abilities.Add Kapil' s longevity too.Then in 1 day cricket Kapil was a better bowler than Khan as stats suggest.In batting , though Imran had almost 10 more in avg:, Kapil had str: rate of 92 against Khan's 73 which is a more crucial factor in 1dayers.

  • bibhutiking on September 20, 2010, 15:51 GMT

    going through the records leadership qualities combined Imran Khan was way ahead of Kapil Headly and Botahm.

  • on September 20, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    well...aall what said about Imran is correct in one way...but he is not pure, he tasted everything including a foreign bride , education, advertising, english accent. tell me what is one thing he sesembles or he owe to Pakisan culture.he is cunning, and take advanatage of the majority of pakistani's loyalty & affection. yes he was indeed a great allrounder and a leader, but thats all.Wasim Akram is an even greater player than Imran Khan , but of course with out that english accent. Imran khan became famous not inside pakistan but outside, and if he was that popular inside pakistan , his party would ahve done better. of late , he is caught between what he like and what he want ti pretend, one is the foreign culture and one is the pakistani culture.remember what Imran said right after the Lahore attack on the Sri lankan team, he said it must be a neighbouring country work. So for me , the title of this article is apt, flawed but succesfull.

  • katochnr on September 20, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    wow doctor, you have some extremely nice experiences to share with your grandchildren ..

  • smalishah84 on September 20, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    I remember the first time I saw Imran Khan in person. My dad was the area administrator in those days and Pakistan team had just returned with the world cup. This was at the PC hotel in Karachi. I remember my first comment to my dad when I saw Imran Khan "Dad Imran Khan does not look like Pakistani at all". He really did look like a movie star from Hollywood. And Imran was 40 years old at the time. I was 10 years old at the time. And until then had only seen Imran with his leaping action on TV advertisements or in cricket matches. But boy the man had style and substance. I remember that people could not get enough of him. And I remember all the girls were just crazy about him. In fact there was a lot of disappointment amongst Pakistani women when it was revealed to the world that he had married Jemima :P........and I remember everyone in the team listening with intent whenever Imran was speaking.....he commanded like a Field Marshal

  • on September 20, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    sometimes the words are not enough explain the aura and heroics of the person know as " IMRAN KHAN" ......

    undoubtedly the best ever scenes produced by cricket,

    IMRAN caipatning a side Wasim,Waqar and Shoiab bowling....

    No matter what goes off the field how flawed they are... but for true cricket lovers there is no match...

  • Kaze on September 20, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    A lot of people rate Sobers as the greatest all rounder but I think it's because of the bias for batting. I also think that wicket keepers are too underrated in cricket. For me Imran Khan is the greatest all rounder ever closely followed by Adam Gilchrist and then Sobers. Imran Khan as a bowler and Gilly as a keeper are an equal match for Sobers the batsman.

  • Pathiyal on September 20, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    if we are talking about the aura, the magnetism and the inspirational abilities - all together, name anyone in the history of cricket who can match this legend? i failed to find anyone. anybody????

  • nataraajds on September 20, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Greatest Fast bowling alrounder & true leader IMRAN , the name inspires ANY young cricketor to be role model.

  • amieka on September 20, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, you got me when you said he attracted a vast following from people of many other nationalities.....I am not from Pakistan but I admire and respect this man a lot. And I don't see any reason to talk about the flaws when he's done so much for this unlucky nation.

    I remember praying for him when he went out to bat or hurl to ball. In my opinion after researching cricket matches, players, and condition, Imran and Warnie are two of the best cricketing brains in the history of the game.

  • on September 20, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    Well said - a legend. The cynics and naysayers are usually not fit to lick his boots clean. I hear all sorts of talk about this and that is not right about the cancer hospital and this and that about his political aspirations - but, I ask these people, what is anybody else doing?

    As a cricketer, in my opinion the BEST that has ever been produced. Not obviously as all round a talent as Sobers, not even able to tie the bootlaces of Richards or the Don as a batsmen, but nonetheless the mighty Pathan was not just a great cricketer in EVERY facet of his game - he was THE pre-eminent leader and could have lead any team. After all he led the rabble of Pakistan - just look at want went on before and after!

  • AhmadSaleem on September 20, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    Kapil vs Imran? Are you kidding me? There is absolutely no match. It's just as comparing Sachin Tendular to Salman Butt. Khan had superior batting record, superior bowling record, superior leadership skills than the other three great all rounders of his era. He has to be the best all rounder world has ever seen along with Sobers and may be Miller comes next to them. Just look at his bowling numbers. They are certainly best by any Asian fast bowlers. Then you have his batting skills which were good enough to cement his spot in any team of his time. A true champ. I always personally think that Bradman, Sobers and Imran would make to any all time XI.

  • Badreshian on September 20, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Any word of bravery and discipline could be added to this great man, from his playing days to SKM hospital and to politician; a man with a vision and a mission to follow. Still in August 2010 every youngster learning cricket is great fan of this legend even thogh they never saw him playing live cricket. His thoughts about this great game are path way to follow. Our Captains must follow the strategies and applications of this Pakistan great Warrier. Ofcourse the talent is there but what need a good leader to guide them to victory and not to discuss but this match and spot fixers have added miseries to already miserable team. I think Great Khan should come up and help the country's cricket which is deteriorating internally and mostly externally these days... Ijaz butt and company simply don't have the capacity to deal the modern days complex situations. But in country systems are weak and persons are strong then how come things could turn over night.

    Imran simply "Brave Heart"

  • safwan_Umair on September 20, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    he was an outstanding captain, a great spokesperson, a PR specialist and a freakishly good judger of talent........add this to his credentials as one of the finest bowlers of all time and a steady batsman who could make it to most test teams as a specialist middle order bat......and you have the most complete cricketer ever to play the game! i dont care if people suggest gary sobers was the finest allrounder ever, he was mightily good, but khan was the best!

  • on September 20, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    There is no doubt Imran Khan is one of the greatest cricketers in the world and with Sobers the best allrounder ever seen. However, he would not have been as successful if it was not for Javed Miandad who also in his own right is the greatest batsman Pakistan has produced in terms of talent, commitment to the country and loyalty to Imran Khan. Unfortunately it has always saddened me that Imran has never fully recognise the contribution Javed Miandad has made to his and Pakistan's success. To me Javed Miandad is the 'UNCROWNED KING'' of Pakistan cricket and as a nation we should honour him just the way we honour Imran Khan. No doubt Wasim Akram and Waqar Yunus were also fine cricketers for Pakistan but the two VERY BEST and interdependent were Imran Khan and Javed Miandad. During their time Pakistan won the World Cup and had successes against all test playing nations. In fact during their time Pakistan with the West Indies were probably the two best teams in the world.

  • Ulysses on September 20, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    My Greatest Test team of All Time:

    Jack Hobbes Barry Richards Don Bradman Viv Richards Sachin Tendulkar Gary Sobers Adam Gilchrist Imran Khan Dennis Lillee Shane Warne Muralidharan

    12th Man: Wasim Akram (!!)

    The Greatest 1-day team of all time:

    Adam Gilchrist Sachin Tendulkar Viv Richards Don Bradman Brian Lara Gary Sobers Imran Khan Wasim Akram Dennis Lillee Shane Warne Muralidharan

  • dineshp97 on September 20, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    I am saying this as an Indian cricket lover: Imran Khan is the GR8EST ALLROUNDER EVER.

  • binkaf on September 20, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    Great! No more words, words are just not enough to pay him a tribute he truly deserves. I just wish I had seen him playing LIVE!

  • abhinav_invincible on September 20, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    Kamran...very gud article..Imran Khan is on my elite list of cricketers whom i wanna meet...the greatest inspiration for the youngsters to play cricket..had seen a lot of sachin n lara,but then we tend to remember guys who r flawed yet brilliant..i was 4 years old wen i saw the great Imran lift the world cup..i felt as if i was seein a superhero,every move he made,gestures,body language...we tend to remember the childhood heroes til our death..Imran possessed a unique bowling action n i had spent a lot of time in my backyard tryin to perfect my champ's action,but constantly fell short of achieving perfection... Imran ji,its time that u take up the leadership from Ijaz Butt n restore the pride n glory of Pak..i feel very sad to see the present state of pak cricket which had produced my hero...Imran coming out of hibernation like a phoenix n rectify the flaws of Pak cricket will the best thing that will happen in the near future for them from the heart of a lifelong fan of Imran

  • Seasole on September 20, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    WELL DONE KAMRAN ABBASSI!!!

  • Mashood_Pakistan on September 20, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    Mr. Indian ! however you are! just to remind, Anil Kumble was helped by Indian Umpires when he took ten blood shed wickets. I dont remember any such performance from Imran helped by the Umpires. Infact he is the man who proposed and introduced neutral umpiring to World cricket. Thanks once again to his inforgettable efforts.

  • intelligentboy on September 20, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Imran the gratest cricketer ever i see in my life,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,A man of great chatacter

  • on September 20, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    @ sweetspot ...kapil was an ordinary captain (he is not even rated as among top three captains of india..let alone a comparison with imran!!!)... his bowling average is ordinary...and batting average no good... imran has statistically among the best records ...bowling, in batting he averaged over 50 in his last 30 tests or so... add to tht the impact he had on cricket as personality is undisputable!!! as a captain he stood the might of WI at their best!!!! (not just a worldcup 83 fluke!!!..even 92 was a fluke by tht counts i'd say :P) far better than a plain run machine in a batsmen's era and about "other" skills ??? and kapil cudnt do it --no wonder u feeling bad about it :P... atleast he isnt humiliated like kapil...ive heard indian media say kapil ws a cheat (he cried on bbc remember??) ... he cudve used "other" ways to earn money then!!!

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    No doubt about the above article.....Immie was the best cricketer Pakistan ever produced.....not only for his personified personality or his good looks...but the way he carried himself in the game of cricket with his performance, leadership & most important disciplined.. and the most important thing he was able to influence his team mates also the same way....no wonder Pakistan produced one world cup because they only produced one Imran khan....I was a kid when I started watching Imran khan....and I have seen almost 15 years of cricket from the time he was about to leave.....till date I best cricketing star is Imran khan…… and I don't think anyone can change my mind on that….by the way I am not from Pakistan.....Great guy...we need more Imran khan types in todays cricketing world or at least bring him in the top ICC seats.

  • KiwiRocker- on September 20, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    I am tired of Indian fans that jump up on anything praising other legends of cricket. India is a mediocre team that is boring and over rated and has produced nothing in the recent years. Now let's get back to the main topic. Imran Khan!! I am unable to understand why people even compare Botham, Hedlee and Kapil with Imran Khan?None of those three was remotely as good captain as Khan.What was special about Imran Khan was that he was and still is the most successful Pakistani captain. Imran Khan's bowling and batting average went off the ranks when he was a captain.Now what other cricketer has done that? An amazing all rounder and a wonderful leader!Tendulkar was a flop captain that is why Ponting is far better than Tendulkar.Lara was also failed as a captain. I rate Imran Khan, Sir Viv Richards & Gary Sobers as greatest crickers of 21st century.! Surely, there were other brilliant cricketers but no one as complete as these three.!One should also mention Javed who was Imran's think Tank!

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    @Sweetspot, "To put Imran above Kapil would be a bit taxing at the best of times" Man, now you must be joking! not taking anything away from Kapil's achievment but Imran Khan was by far the most charismatic, bold, intelligent, brave and versatile cricketer of his time. Even though he and Kapil Dev shared most of the qualities, but Imran Khan was always a little ahead of Kapil. And Prashan and the other guy, they all are talking in general, just dont start beating the drums! Sachin Tendulkar is a genius, a great batsman, his feats are unmatchable and as far as i am concerned, his records are not going to be broken, not any time soon! but he is not a good captain, he cant bowl like Imran or Kapil and his fielding is also not so good. Imran Khan was a brilliant fielder, a superb bowler, more than a handy batsman and a very brave captain! Hence, He is the "Best Cricket Asia Has Ever Produced"

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    As an Indian I must say Imran is easily the greatest cricketer Asia ever produced and maybe in top 3,4 of the world. I am also a fan of Tendulkar but Imran was excellent in everything he did...batting, bowling, captaincy and the way he led Pakistan was just too cool. Maybe he was helped a little by the Pakistani umpires but still his stats are amazing and more than that he was a personality off the field. I remember one old sport star article when at the end of his career he was appointed by WWF as their ambassador...Now that's what I call honor

  • Nayeem_Kohir on September 20, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Sweetspot, With due respect to Kapil and Sachin, they are no Imran Khan. Imran Khan was a better all-rounder than Kapil and he was a far superior captains. And to say Sachin is the greatest Asian cricketer is to make the mockery of champions like Imran, Wasim, and even Kapil to name a few. Kapil is the greatest Indian cricketer ever, and Imran is one of greatest cricketer the world has ever seen. Just for the record, Imran took 40 wickets against India in a single series on the dead wickets. Imran Khan and Wasim Akram are the greatest cricketers that Asia has ever produced. The other Asian cricketers come only after Imran and Wasim. Probably Kapil will come at the third position. Moreover Imran never played for records. Sachin always played for records, and it is for records that Sachin is still playing.

    Greatest Asian cricketers

    1. Imran Khan 2. Wasim Akram 3. Kapil Dev

    Then there are many greats to follow and each position is debatable.

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Bowlers win matches,thus Imran has to be the greatst matchwinning all rounder of all times.Sir Gary was undoubdtedly the more gifted of the two but played in a more free spirited manner.Imran simply hated to lose.Imagine having Imran,Sobers,Gilchrist,Marshall ,Lillee and Warne in one team-doesnt matter who the other 5 blokes are or who they play against!

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Imran was a magnificent human being, probably the best to be produced by Pakistan in the last few decades. His greatness comes from not only his cricketing abilities, but also his leadership quality. Look at what he achieved for Pakistan during his career, and see where Pakistan is today, and you get a measure of the man's greatness. Sachin and Kapil are great cricketers in their own right, and it does no one any good to compare one against the other. It is much like comparing a cheetah to a Ferrari!

  • on September 20, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Imran Khan the greatest pakistani/asian cricketer. He has many qualities which others don't have. He is outstanding fast bowler which introduced the reverse swing which is required to take wickets on dead pitches of sub-continent. He is the best bowling allrounder of all times. Above all imran was one of best captain, he transformed pakistani team into a winning unit and ultimately won the 1992 worldcup. Another thing which no one has discussed that imran khan has introduced the fast bowling craze/trend in pakistan, he is ideal of many young pakistanis. Wasim and waqar was introduced by imran.

  • on September 20, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    Greatest cricketer that subcontinent has produced and perhaps the 3rd greatest of all cricketers (Sorry sir Viv. More I read about Imran more I feel that he deserves the no. 3 spot). Oh and did someone not mention Sachin yet :P

  • Azam_Ali on September 20, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    @sweetspot and harmske....Kapil is close to Imran but surely Imran edges him because of his gift of identifying new talents and introducing them into the game..No doubt Kapil was a great Captain too but I believe a cricketer's role for his country doesnt end with his career and Imran's life after his cricketing career is a role model for others..His endeavours of Shaukat Khanum Cancer hospital and NAMAL university in Pakistan are just a 2 of his many services that he has given for this Nation...And abt Sachin..well yes a great batsman,second to Bradman, but his lack of leadership qualities wont make him a candidate for the best cricketer even for India alone.

  • Mashood_Pakistan on September 20, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Imran was a true fighting allround cricketer with state of the art cricketing vision, won dozens of matches for Pakistan with his dedicated performances.

    Imran has impressive decent personality with great ability to express himself at any good forum. This makes him join the club of very few players in cricket world.

  • on September 20, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    I TRULY AGREE WITH KAMRAN ABBASI BUT I HAVE TO ADD ONE MORE THING ON THE CONSOLATION OF THIS GREATEST AND BRAVE CRICKETER

    "THE LION OF PAKISTAN"

  • on September 20, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    I would rate him as the greatest cricketer of all times. A man of great character. A Legend is Mr.Khan.

  • on September 20, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    The finest asian cricketer of all time, period.

  • harmske on September 20, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    @ Prashant Geetam: what about Manjor Prabhakar?

  • on September 20, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    @Prashant i am sure Sachin cannot hold a torch to this man...........

  • sweetspot on September 20, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    Prashant, you must be joking! To put Imran above Kapil would be a bit taxing at the best of times. For some reason, a certain Sachin Tendulkar also comes to mind for the post of "greatest cricketer Asia has ever produced". Regardless of comparison, he was a fantastic bowler, helped along by his own other talents of working on the ball. "Flawed" yes, more like crooked. Still, a worthy opponent, and the perfect leader for Pakistan.

  • Joji_ on September 20, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    I wish.. we can have him back...ahh!!

  • MFNadeem on September 20, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    In his last 50 test matches, KHAN averaged 50+ in batting (2477 runs) and 19.90 in bowling (204 wkts). For me, this is an unbelievable achievement. One can take take any of this performances individually and call the player, a great of the game.

  • BillyCC on September 20, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Perhaps the greatest all-rounder ever to play the game, if you value a bowling all-rounder higher than a batting all-rounder. The bowling average was phenomenal and the batting average was fantastic for a Number 6/7 or lower. If we keep the all-rounder distinction separate, then we get a list of Sobers (best batting all-rounder), Imran Khan (best bowling all-rounder) and Gilchrist (best keeping all-rounder), three magnificent players of the game.

  • Ammar_pak on September 20, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Greatest living legend of all time

  • on September 20, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Undoubtedly one of the greatest cricketers of all time. The transformation from a decidedly average cricketer to one worthy of being called great is astounding and it has all do to do with how much hard work the man put into his game. As a captain, we all know how amazing he was and his test stats as captain are absolutely astonishing. Great article as well and really highlighted the human aspects of Imran :)

  • TigerBadshah on September 20, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    A true Legend.. Imran for President

  • uglyhunK on September 20, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    @Prashan - Greatest?? keep your emotions in check dude. :-)

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:52 GMT

    I agree 100% with you, Mr Abbasi. I first saw him at Bourda in 1988. He was the Captain and it was the first time a team beat the West Indies at Bourda and he did it with a day and a session to spare. It was also the first time a Test Match was played uninterrupted by rainfall. Imran led his bowlers with bat and ball. I never saw stumps fly as they did that day when he and young Wasim Akhram bowled.

    Off the field, he had all the females in the pavilion palpating. I have never seen even married ladies from respectable families behave like they did at that match-each trying to out do each other to catch his attention. And he just politely ignored them all.

    He gave me his autograph at the ground and when he saw me at cricket the next day, he said-Hello Nanda and smiled- my knees literally became jello--I was like--he remembered my name --that was when I realised the effect that he had on ladies first hand. He was just so very suave, polite and very dashing.

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    A wonderful article. Wish Pakistan had someone with 50% f Imran Khan's intigrity..

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    inspirational personality :)

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    No matter what country you are from, What country you support, everyone knows Imran Khan is the best all round cricketer ever produced by any country.

  • smalishah84 on September 20, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Definitely in contention for the greatest Asian cricketer. Imran Khan inspired more than one generation of Pakistanis. Quite popular in other Asian countries as well as England and Australia. He was more charismatic than most public personalities, more good looking than most movie stars, and he was a genuine leader both on and off the field. With the moral standard of Pakistan team in nosedive these days one can't help but remember the good old days of the GREAT IMRAN KHAN.

  • shyda123 on September 20, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    Thanks Kamran Abbasi for this wonderful article, I believe if a person like Imran Khan becomes PCB Head, then lots of things can be changed. For instance, match fixing or related allegation brought by the illegitimate ICC made by some primitive Indians. He is the one who can impose what he did in his past one of a success story ever made by a Pakistani. Cricket was the game of gentle men, the batsman would have left without waiting for the umpires decision if he knew he was out, but now the batsman will look at the umpire and go. If the umpire didn't saw it and the outcome is the batsman is not out then the umpire is in trouble, and I will never accept Anel Kumble's 10 wickets which was given so wrongly by J Parkash, that's why cricket losing its fans and followers and that day is not far when no one will be ready to broadcast cricket whether its texture, audio commentary or televised. I feel so sick of all those things happens to cricket in now days.

  • Pathiyal on September 20, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    imran could easily be one of the greatest leaders any team game has ever seen. even though i was/ am a good fan of the game, i used to enjoy the way imran walked the pitch or interacted with his team mates, his body language, his leadership skills, inspiring his team mates etc etc. even more than the cricketing action! however, i used to hate imran when he played against india.......now if those days are back i would have made a lot of enemies within my friends circle as i would have openly supported pak cricket team just for my unmatched hero :-) nice article, Kamran. happy to see that you were lucky to work on the field with Imran Khan.

  • Meety on September 20, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    Nice article. He is one of my most admired cricketers. I went off him a bit after he retired but the more I have heard/seen of his political career, the more my respect of him as returned. I don't think he knows how to lie. Champion cricketer, champion human being.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 20, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    Asia's greatest cricketing son and arguably the best all rounder cricket has ever seen and certainly among the best two all rounders. He was a fighter with the bat and absolute delight to watch while he was bowling his beautiful big in swingers. We Asians are proud of Sunny, Sachin, Dravid Imran, Wasim, Waqar Javed and Muralitharan. They all have not many matches in their respective fields.

  • cricPassion2009 on September 20, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    I should say Imran deserved a better article!

    Imran Khan was cricket's prince, a great player and greater captain.

    Cricket's magnificent 4 of Imran, Kapil, Botham, Hadlee enriched the game and catapulted the game to new heights, inspired generations of cricketers.

  • on September 20, 2010, 3:26 GMT

    Surely the greatest cricketer Asia has ever produced

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on September 20, 2010, 3:26 GMT

    Surely the greatest cricketer Asia has ever produced

  • cricPassion2009 on September 20, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    I should say Imran deserved a better article!

    Imran Khan was cricket's prince, a great player and greater captain.

    Cricket's magnificent 4 of Imran, Kapil, Botham, Hadlee enriched the game and catapulted the game to new heights, inspired generations of cricketers.

  • AhmadSaleem on September 20, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    Asia's greatest cricketing son and arguably the best all rounder cricket has ever seen and certainly among the best two all rounders. He was a fighter with the bat and absolute delight to watch while he was bowling his beautiful big in swingers. We Asians are proud of Sunny, Sachin, Dravid Imran, Wasim, Waqar Javed and Muralitharan. They all have not many matches in their respective fields.

  • Meety on September 20, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    Nice article. He is one of my most admired cricketers. I went off him a bit after he retired but the more I have heard/seen of his political career, the more my respect of him as returned. I don't think he knows how to lie. Champion cricketer, champion human being.

  • Pathiyal on September 20, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    imran could easily be one of the greatest leaders any team game has ever seen. even though i was/ am a good fan of the game, i used to enjoy the way imran walked the pitch or interacted with his team mates, his body language, his leadership skills, inspiring his team mates etc etc. even more than the cricketing action! however, i used to hate imran when he played against india.......now if those days are back i would have made a lot of enemies within my friends circle as i would have openly supported pak cricket team just for my unmatched hero :-) nice article, Kamran. happy to see that you were lucky to work on the field with Imran Khan.

  • shyda123 on September 20, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    Thanks Kamran Abbasi for this wonderful article, I believe if a person like Imran Khan becomes PCB Head, then lots of things can be changed. For instance, match fixing or related allegation brought by the illegitimate ICC made by some primitive Indians. He is the one who can impose what he did in his past one of a success story ever made by a Pakistani. Cricket was the game of gentle men, the batsman would have left without waiting for the umpires decision if he knew he was out, but now the batsman will look at the umpire and go. If the umpire didn't saw it and the outcome is the batsman is not out then the umpire is in trouble, and I will never accept Anel Kumble's 10 wickets which was given so wrongly by J Parkash, that's why cricket losing its fans and followers and that day is not far when no one will be ready to broadcast cricket whether its texture, audio commentary or televised. I feel so sick of all those things happens to cricket in now days.

  • smalishah84 on September 20, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Definitely in contention for the greatest Asian cricketer. Imran Khan inspired more than one generation of Pakistanis. Quite popular in other Asian countries as well as England and Australia. He was more charismatic than most public personalities, more good looking than most movie stars, and he was a genuine leader both on and off the field. With the moral standard of Pakistan team in nosedive these days one can't help but remember the good old days of the GREAT IMRAN KHAN.

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    No matter what country you are from, What country you support, everyone knows Imran Khan is the best all round cricketer ever produced by any country.

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    inspirational personality :)

  • on September 20, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    A wonderful article. Wish Pakistan had someone with 50% f Imran Khan's intigrity..