November 1, 2010

The original transformer

Imran was at the heart of shaping modern-day Pakistan cricket, and all we love about the team and their play can be traced back to him
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There lies, pop stars and politicians will tell you, great reward in transformation. Imran Khan, who hung out with the former and has become one of the latter, will tell you there lies greatness itself in transformation. This is the truth of his life and career. Many are conceived great but it can also be achieved by not necessarily being yourself as at conception, by changing, evolving, renovating.

The broad outline is that he went from being a good player to the finest one his country produced, and arguably the finest allrounder cricket has seen in a gathering not involving Sir Garry Sobers. Underpinning this was his real genius: an unbending commitment and a pig-headed focus, a blind devotion, really, to any given single cause - to better himself, to better his side, to better his country, to better the world.

So fierce is the single-mindedness that it has often become divisive, as with the 1992 World Cup-winning speech remembered so bitterly in Pakistan. So obsessed had he become with building the cancer hospital in memory of his mother, he didn't think to thank his own team or anyone else, speaking only of the project. That is the downside; the upside is that the cause drove him, and thus his team, to win the damn thing in the first place. And it isn't as if he was building something that would devour babies.

Details, though, are instructive.

His action, for example, when he began in the early 70s, looking like a misplaced Beatle with a mop top, had more windmills in it than Holland, and was as flat. Yet by 1982 it had become such a leaping study in the beauty and grace of the human form, all it needed was a catwalk; to half the human race it was a mating call. Visually it was as unrecognisable from his natural action as the Michael Jackson of 2008 was from the Michael Jackson of 1978. It came about after much consultation with greybeards and contemporaries and defiance of others, but above everything, from an inner voice that told him he could be far more than what he was.

His bowling itself underwent several recalibrations of pace, length, attitude and modes. When he began, he couldn't control big, booming inswingers of modest pace. But when cricket was gripped by a prolonged vogue of bouncers from the mid-70s on, Imran unthinkingly jumped in. When the run-up and rhythm were right, he was sharp, and he targeted heads with commendable indiscrimination.

But by the early 80s, a scholarship in Kerry Packer's World Series with the world's best to the good, and quicker still, he was hitting fuller lengths and ignoring the surface. He was swinging the new ball but more radically, the old; 40 wickets in the 1982-83 series against India in Pakistan was a mind-altering moment in fast bowling.

Then, post shin-injury, another face. The pace came down but the mind remained sharp; nearing 35 he took over 20 wickets in leading Pakistan to their first series win in England; a year later he took 23 in a three-Test series in the Caribbean; even at 37 he bowled a remarkable, long-forgotten two-wicket maiden last over of an ODI in Sydney, which Pakistan won by two runs.

Through this immense journey were the imprints of a few minds. Mike Procter and John Snow, Garth le Roux, the Kiwi John Parker, Sarfraz Nawaz, all chipped in, but overseeing it all at each step was Imran himself, pushing himself to whichever point and in whichever direction would bring him success.

Just imagine cricket's landscape in Pakistan without him. For sure the country would've been one of spinners and medium-pacers, no Wasim, Waqar, Zahid, Shoaib and Amir in sight

Nowhere more than in his batting did he inflict - and that really is the word - upon himself such stark transformation. The epiphany came in his very first Test as captain, until when he had been a free, reckless spirit in the lower order. A careless hook off Bob Willis ended a careless innings, and immediately he resolved to become more responsible; there was no harsher critic of Imran than Imran, not even slighted ex-players from Karachi. It didn't require the structural re-jigging of his bowling, for his batting was built on sounder, correct principles. In his head he had always been a batsman, even if in his blood he felt the flow of manlier pursuits. All it needed was for his mind to win. Obviously it did.

A solid 65, batting mostly with the tail in the second innings, was, in his words, a "watershed". The conclusion cannot be doubted; in his last 50 Tests after that, he averaged twice - nearly 52 - what he did before. He quintupled his century haul and quadrupled his fifties. More immeasurably, by career's end he was the calmest, most versatile influence on a batting line-up forever a wicket or two from panic.

Strictly speaking, these were all personal, isolated transformations. Even off the field he was chameleonesque, unrecognisable from the homesick 18-year-old who first went to England in 1971. A shy, introspective mama's boy, he became cricket's James Bond, as smooth on the field as away from it, as easy in whites with 10 sweats gathering round as in a tux with 10 royals, celebrities and the world's beauties. Some transformations cannot be matched: turning a productive day in the field with Javed Miandad, for example, into a heady evening with Mick Jagger.

But it was when he went from being a rebellion-happy superstar to captain that he initiated a process of change vastly bigger and beyond his own person.

Cricket in Pakistan probably would've become the most popular game anyway - and by the late 70s, hockey was a formidable match - but there was no bigger propellant than Imran's emergence. He had been at the very centre of Sydney 1976-77 - a triumph as significant as the Oval one of 1954 - in which was conceived modern-day Pakistan: a delicate, easily disturbed balance between fractiousness, indiscipline and supremely gifted athletes, between hostile fast bowlers and erratic batsmen. Thereafter, as the sport burst out of urban Pakistan, pouring out a hurl of talent, he remained at the centre, driving his side forth and, by default, shaping the game as it grew.

If that sounds too much, just imagine cricket's landscape in Pakistan without him. Might not hockey be the national sport in name and spirit? For sure the country would have been one of spinners and medium-pacers, no Wasim, Waqar, Zahid, Shoaib and Amir in sight. There probably wouldn't be the modern attacking mores of their play, the gung-ho shot-making, the wicket-taking lengths and stump-hitting lines that were Imran commandments, developed as an antidote to the ennui he felt was drowning him on the English county circuit.

Without him they might still be the meek inheritors of nothing that they were in the 60s and early 70s. He was lucky to lead in a time of demographic change, so that for his players, partition and colonialisation were mere words in history books they hadn't read. But how well he harnessed these players into a new brave, defiant and unbowed visage, much of it still glimpsed today, even though it has since developed a schizoid moue. And almost certainly he was the difference between a mediocre, underperforming cricket nation and an excitable, winning one. Without Imran, Pakistan would not be as we know and love them.

This is what made him, to this writer at least, much more than his great all-round contemporaries. Maybe his peak as batsman and bowler didn't quite coincide to produce the starburst of Ian Botham early on (Imran did, by the way, average more than 50 with bat and less than 20 with ball in the last decade of his career). There wasn't the early precocity of Kapil Dev. Neither was he as calculatingly brilliant with ball as Richard Hadlee. But to be, at once, the best player in the side, the best leader of the side, and also the man to transform the entire sport in a country, that is some trump.

Now awaits the final, logical transformation. This is trickier, philanthropist to politician not being as straightforward a switch as it might appear. Perhaps he is better off sorting out the game first, for upon his own departure in 1992, just as he once wrote had happened on the retirement of AH Kardar, it was thrown to the wolves.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • absha1 on November 4, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    @ Martin Hooks - I agree with you, Kapil did a lot of donkey work for India. So, in the spirit of the subheading of this article, let us agree that while Imran was the lion of Pakistan, Kapil was the donkey of India.

  • absha1 on November 4, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    @ Gulshan_Grover - By experts you mean people like Richie Benaud, or mediocre Mumbai based swing bowlers who saw Kapil smash his only ODI century against Zimbabwe? (Hitting Zimbabwe out of the park is not a major achievement even today). Maybe you refer to experts who saw Kapil rack up impressive numbers in the World Series Cricket years (1978-79); a century and batting average of 65 against a second string WI while the best cricketers like Imran, Richards, Holding, Lillee,and you know the cream of the World, were playing each other in Australia?

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 4, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    Yes, I can give you the names but I just depend on some obscure video to form my opinion. I have seen both Kapil and Imran play live and my opinion is based on what I saw with my own eyes. And take my words for it: Kapil was a much better batsman and fielder, Imran you can argue was perhaps a better bowler but not by much and both won WC as captains. The only difference is Kapil won it himself as he turned in amazing allround performances one after the other i.e leading from the front and Imran won it due to Inzmam and Akram that is leading from the back.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 4, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Kapil once scored a 22-ball fifty against West Indies at Berbice against their fearsome quartet (beat that), then the fastest fifty by anyone in ODIs. Scored an unbeaten 175 at Tunbridge Wells- Kapil hit these 175 runs off 138 balls, with 16 fours and 6 sixes as India recovered from 9 for 4, when he came to the crease, and then 17 for 5. India went on to win that WC. The next highest score was Syed Kirmani's 24 not out. The match was not covered on TV nor is there any video recording of this great innings, because of a strike by technical workers which only adds romance to this great innings. These kind of feats were unheard of in that era. Long live Kapil Dev and his brand of cricket that had even Viv Richards shaking in his boots.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 4, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    @AhmedSaleem, we can not compare Bradman with Sachin or Gavaskar with Len Hutton because they played in entirely different era but Kapil vs Imran discussion is worth having as they played against each other and against the same teams. The problem is that sometimes one unequivocally want people to agree with oneself but life and cricket is not that black and white.

    I have no problem in acknowledging that Murli is better than Harbhajan, Warne>Kumbley (marginally) and Sobers> who the heck is Ravi Jadeja :)

    Vishawanath played with Miandad and was a much better batsman against quality bowling while Miandad was a fighter so stalemate there. Dhoni's career is in the middle so can't say anything about that yet and forget McGrath when I was young I bowled better than Srinath :)

  • safwan_Umair on November 4, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    @ Gulshan rover .... can you kindly name those pundits and historians for me? i watched Imran on Espn's cricket legends, a similar video to this one, and his contemporaries rank him as the best all-round cricketer of the 1980's. One Wisden editor, Tim de Lisle i guess, states that Imran should captain an All-Time Test eleven. If kapil was better, then why didnt the jury pick him in the all time test second eleven?? were they biased too? i think a lot of imran bashing is a result of pure jealousy and envy .... i am a Pakistani, and i am not berating kapil, he was a fine allrounder in his own right, but any where close to imran? certainly not! how would you react if i said steve waugh was a better batsman then sachin?? he certainly won more test matches as a captain for Australia then sachin ever has for india. but it would be an unfair statement, wouldnt it? cause sachin is a far more superior batsman statistically.

    Rid yourself of this stupid bias. Imran was the best!

  • AhmadSaleem on November 4, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Anil Kumble> Shane Warne...... Harbhajan Singh> Muttiah Muralitharan...... Sachin Tendulkar>Don Bradman..... MS Dhoni> Adam Gilchrist..... Javagal Srinath>Glenn McGrath...... Gundapa Vishwanath> Javed Miandad..... Sunil Gavaskar> Len Hutton..... Kapil Dev>Imran Khan..... Ravi Jadeja> Sir Garfield Sobers. Right, now my dear friends will not have any problem with this.

  • studmansingh on November 4, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    contd from earlier comment. Imran was great no doubt but to belittle Kapil just on pure figures is doing injustice to him. Maybe Imran was even greater but the difference is as small as the difference between Tendulkar and Lara is. And yeah there is the small matter of Imran having 25 not outs in 88 tests wheras Kapil having just 13 not outs in 131 tests. That shows that Kapil was a more murderous batsman, wheras Imran was an accumulator. It would be intersting to see what Kapil's figures would have been if he had even Nawaz like support from the other end. Come on Binny/Lal/Amarnath/Sandhu/Shastri would not even scare some one playing club cricket. And it would be intersting to see Imran's figures if throughout his career he bolwed alongside someone like Mudassir Nazar.

  • studmansingh on November 4, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    This discussion has turned into a Kapil vs Imran thing. While I am Indian and I agree that Imran's figures are far superior to Kapil's one has to see them in the broader perspective. Kapil naver had any support from the other end wheras Imran had. Imran played for the seond best team of that era and maybe the greatest Pakistan team ever. Kapil played for a poor Indian side who could only beat NZ/Zim/SL. Imran had ton loads of support from umpires and bottle caps/vasoline/shoe spikes/finger nails wheras Kapil had neither. Why is it that only Pakistani bowlers have this cloud over their heads...even today? And in batting though Imran has a better av, Kapil had a murderous strike rate. 95 in ODIs is awesome even in today's times let alone the 80s era. But I agree that Kapil not fulfilling his talent was his own problem. Thats where Imran beats him hands down. As far as Botham goes, he beat second string Aussie sides at his peak and made his figures. to be contd

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 4, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    Safwan, I understand your concern and agree that this forum should not be biased for or against anyone. In fact I have had extensive conversations with cricket pundits, statisticians and quite a few historians over the years. Almost all of them rank Kapil as a superior athlete, better fielder and superior batsman. In bowling Imran was perhaps better but not by that much as stats may suggest as post injury Kapil was not the same bowler any more. Overall, Kapil Dev is right there at the top. One can cherry pick the data based on stats but always remember there is lies, damn lies and statistics.

  • absha1 on November 4, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    @ Martin Hooks - I agree with you, Kapil did a lot of donkey work for India. So, in the spirit of the subheading of this article, let us agree that while Imran was the lion of Pakistan, Kapil was the donkey of India.

  • absha1 on November 4, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    @ Gulshan_Grover - By experts you mean people like Richie Benaud, or mediocre Mumbai based swing bowlers who saw Kapil smash his only ODI century against Zimbabwe? (Hitting Zimbabwe out of the park is not a major achievement even today). Maybe you refer to experts who saw Kapil rack up impressive numbers in the World Series Cricket years (1978-79); a century and batting average of 65 against a second string WI while the best cricketers like Imran, Richards, Holding, Lillee,and you know the cream of the World, were playing each other in Australia?

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 4, 2010, 22:58 GMT

    Yes, I can give you the names but I just depend on some obscure video to form my opinion. I have seen both Kapil and Imran play live and my opinion is based on what I saw with my own eyes. And take my words for it: Kapil was a much better batsman and fielder, Imran you can argue was perhaps a better bowler but not by much and both won WC as captains. The only difference is Kapil won it himself as he turned in amazing allround performances one after the other i.e leading from the front and Imran won it due to Inzmam and Akram that is leading from the back.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 4, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Kapil once scored a 22-ball fifty against West Indies at Berbice against their fearsome quartet (beat that), then the fastest fifty by anyone in ODIs. Scored an unbeaten 175 at Tunbridge Wells- Kapil hit these 175 runs off 138 balls, with 16 fours and 6 sixes as India recovered from 9 for 4, when he came to the crease, and then 17 for 5. India went on to win that WC. The next highest score was Syed Kirmani's 24 not out. The match was not covered on TV nor is there any video recording of this great innings, because of a strike by technical workers which only adds romance to this great innings. These kind of feats were unheard of in that era. Long live Kapil Dev and his brand of cricket that had even Viv Richards shaking in his boots.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 4, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    @AhmedSaleem, we can not compare Bradman with Sachin or Gavaskar with Len Hutton because they played in entirely different era but Kapil vs Imran discussion is worth having as they played against each other and against the same teams. The problem is that sometimes one unequivocally want people to agree with oneself but life and cricket is not that black and white.

    I have no problem in acknowledging that Murli is better than Harbhajan, Warne>Kumbley (marginally) and Sobers> who the heck is Ravi Jadeja :)

    Vishawanath played with Miandad and was a much better batsman against quality bowling while Miandad was a fighter so stalemate there. Dhoni's career is in the middle so can't say anything about that yet and forget McGrath when I was young I bowled better than Srinath :)

  • safwan_Umair on November 4, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    @ Gulshan rover .... can you kindly name those pundits and historians for me? i watched Imran on Espn's cricket legends, a similar video to this one, and his contemporaries rank him as the best all-round cricketer of the 1980's. One Wisden editor, Tim de Lisle i guess, states that Imran should captain an All-Time Test eleven. If kapil was better, then why didnt the jury pick him in the all time test second eleven?? were they biased too? i think a lot of imran bashing is a result of pure jealousy and envy .... i am a Pakistani, and i am not berating kapil, he was a fine allrounder in his own right, but any where close to imran? certainly not! how would you react if i said steve waugh was a better batsman then sachin?? he certainly won more test matches as a captain for Australia then sachin ever has for india. but it would be an unfair statement, wouldnt it? cause sachin is a far more superior batsman statistically.

    Rid yourself of this stupid bias. Imran was the best!

  • AhmadSaleem on November 4, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Anil Kumble> Shane Warne...... Harbhajan Singh> Muttiah Muralitharan...... Sachin Tendulkar>Don Bradman..... MS Dhoni> Adam Gilchrist..... Javagal Srinath>Glenn McGrath...... Gundapa Vishwanath> Javed Miandad..... Sunil Gavaskar> Len Hutton..... Kapil Dev>Imran Khan..... Ravi Jadeja> Sir Garfield Sobers. Right, now my dear friends will not have any problem with this.

  • studmansingh on November 4, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    contd from earlier comment. Imran was great no doubt but to belittle Kapil just on pure figures is doing injustice to him. Maybe Imran was even greater but the difference is as small as the difference between Tendulkar and Lara is. And yeah there is the small matter of Imran having 25 not outs in 88 tests wheras Kapil having just 13 not outs in 131 tests. That shows that Kapil was a more murderous batsman, wheras Imran was an accumulator. It would be intersting to see what Kapil's figures would have been if he had even Nawaz like support from the other end. Come on Binny/Lal/Amarnath/Sandhu/Shastri would not even scare some one playing club cricket. And it would be intersting to see Imran's figures if throughout his career he bolwed alongside someone like Mudassir Nazar.

  • studmansingh on November 4, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    This discussion has turned into a Kapil vs Imran thing. While I am Indian and I agree that Imran's figures are far superior to Kapil's one has to see them in the broader perspective. Kapil naver had any support from the other end wheras Imran had. Imran played for the seond best team of that era and maybe the greatest Pakistan team ever. Kapil played for a poor Indian side who could only beat NZ/Zim/SL. Imran had ton loads of support from umpires and bottle caps/vasoline/shoe spikes/finger nails wheras Kapil had neither. Why is it that only Pakistani bowlers have this cloud over their heads...even today? And in batting though Imran has a better av, Kapil had a murderous strike rate. 95 in ODIs is awesome even in today's times let alone the 80s era. But I agree that Kapil not fulfilling his talent was his own problem. Thats where Imran beats him hands down. As far as Botham goes, he beat second string Aussie sides at his peak and made his figures. to be contd

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 4, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    Safwan, I understand your concern and agree that this forum should not be biased for or against anyone. In fact I have had extensive conversations with cricket pundits, statisticians and quite a few historians over the years. Almost all of them rank Kapil as a superior athlete, better fielder and superior batsman. In bowling Imran was perhaps better but not by that much as stats may suggest as post injury Kapil was not the same bowler any more. Overall, Kapil Dev is right there at the top. One can cherry pick the data based on stats but always remember there is lies, damn lies and statistics.

  • Lekson on November 4, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    @Martin_Hooks, I am afraid you are wrong when you said Kapil was the fastest to 100wickets/1000runs and 200wickets/2000runs. These records belonged to Botham and he was also the quickest to 300wickets/3000runs. Kapil and Botham were more exciting/entertaining all-rounders than Imran who boosted his batting averages with a lot of not-outs in meaningless drawn and dead matches.

  • safwan_Umair on November 4, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    LOLOL ...... Kapil > Imran .... LOLOL .....this is surely a contender for the biggest joke of the century.

  • safwan_Umair on November 4, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    sad to see how biased behavior turns one totally blind to facts...... Their are people on this forum who have tuned this discussion into a pro-kapil, anti-imran rhetoric. Ask any cricket historian, pundit or statistician, and none of them would ever rate Kapil above Imran. Statistically kapil doesnt even come near imran. Its a preposterous proposition. Though it takes some class and dignity to accept facts. Which unfortunately many people on this forum are unwilling to do. Imran was the most complete allround cricketer ever........ period.

  • ROLAYH on November 4, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    whats is wrong with being grafter (if we assume this to be true for Imran). Do you think players like Sunil Gavaskar, Hanif Mohammad, Rahul Dravid are less capable than someone like Sehwag? Saving a match, avoiding a collapse is as good skill as playing aggressively. A good player is one who can play according to situation.

  • NSiddiqi on November 4, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    After reading the last comment from absha1 I was reminded of a wonderful saying,

    "Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

    I guess thats one of the difference between Champion Imran khan and Kapil Dev, How ever it doesnt imply that imran's skill were by any means less than that of Kapil.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 4, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    Lads, history lesson from an old man-By the end of 1983, Kapil already had about 250 Test wickets in just four years and looked well on his way to becoming one of the most prolific wicket-takers ever. However, his bowling declined following knee surgery (injury due to excessive bowling because he was the only pacer India had) in 1984, as he lost some of his majestic jump at the crease. Despite this setback, he never missed playing a single test or one-day game on fitness grounds. He continued to be effective, if not devastating, for another ten years and became the second bowler ever to take 400 wickets in Test cricket . If not for that injury we will not be having a debate as Kapil would have scored 7000 test runs and taken at least 650 wickets and that would have placed him at top. Kapil was fastest to 100/1000, fastest to 200/2000 which clearly shows his natural talent was quite unmatched by his contemporaries who were making best use of not-so-abundant talent at their disposal.

  • absha1 on November 3, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    So now the Kapil Dev boosters are arguing that Kapil is great because he never missed a test because of fitness? My god. Whereas on the other hand you have Imran who pushes himself to the limit and bowls through six tests through a stress fracture against India after putting in every ounce of effort. Ha! Read the article. Imran was about realising potential - using the mind to push to body to reach the heights and to win; and as a plus to motivate others around him. Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. You can take Kapil. Keep him. Keep him forever.

  • on November 3, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    Imran is a pale shadow of Kapil. My arguments prove points beyond doubts in my comments here and cherry picked stat analysis article (disgraceful analysis). Cherry picking statics and anything else can't deny the fact. I know muslim friends would never agree with that for them Imran is greatest cricketer, Dilip kumar is greatest actor. I like both of them but Kapil ismost humble, a great natural attacking batsman with no match and greatest swing bowler. A natural athelet and a wonderful player who did not miss a single test match because of fitness. I would be signing off as bhains ke aage been bajane ka koi phayada nahi ha.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 3, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Not looking just purely at stats it is quite evident that Kapil was the best allrounder in terms of natural talent among the 4. He was a superb athlete, brilliant fielder, won WC at the age of 23 (Imran had to wait till he was long in tooth), a marvelous attacking batsman (not a grafter) and fantastic swing bowler. Only people with false pride and true prejudice would argue against that.

  • ROOMIDAHERO on November 3, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    Imran delivered mostly when the chips were down. His batting always held the innings togather when Pakistan's fragile batting would be collapsing. His first 100 in tests was against the mighty west Indies ( Croft Holding Clarke and Garner) at their most fearsome. As for only 88 Tests- its a fact that back in 70- 80's Pakistan was a less fashionable side and would get less Test matches than Australia, England India. Infact when Imran turned Pakistan into a winning unit Pakistan got their first ever 5 Test series in England. If one looks at records of Pakistani Greats like Majid Khan Asif Iqbal Qadir Mushtaq Muhammed and even Zaheer Abbas one realises despite their reputaions and class they played far less Test cricket than their Indian English or Aussie contemporaries. Also Imran was a pioneer of genuine pace bowling on placid tracks and paid the price of stress fracture of shin and was out of Action for 3 years during his peak after the Indian series where he took 40 wickets in 6 test.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 3, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    brother ROLAYH Hadlee bowled on green tops, Kapil bowled on dust bowls, where is the comparison dude?

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 3, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    Thanks Martin a point many people miss : "No one would suggest that 1983 was a one-man show but even a cursory look at the figures will reveal what a talisman Kapil was for his team. In eight matches, he scored 303 runs (at 60.6), took 12 wickets (at 20.41) and held seven catches, including the stunner to dismiss Viv Richards that transformed the final. Because of his involvement with the Indian Cricket League, though, Kapil no longer attracts eulogies from those in the corridors of power. Those that have never held a bat or ball in their lives have decided that a man who scored 5,248 Test runs and took 434 wickets for his country (3,783 runs and 253 wickets in ODIs) should be treated like a pariah. But the fact is that this humble cricketer was the best in his time. "

    truely he was beyond cool and one of the best all rounder of all time without a shadow of doubt.

  • Engle on November 3, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    Imran bestrode and ruled the cricket world with influence, charisma, leadership and performances....the senior statesman and lord of his domain. Such authority does not come flippantly, it must be earned. Others who similarly acquired such respect and authority were Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Alan Border and Steve Waugh. Then there were those cricketers who were too myopically minded in accumulating numbers, or poor leadership, or lack of charisma, or unilateral skills who do not belong in such an exalted club. The Tendulkars, Kapil Devs, Pontings, Lara's, Kallis and others were not what I would call the " Generals " of the game, tho they may have been very good " Foot Soldiers " .

  • ROLAYH on November 3, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    @Martin_Hooks, by using the term so called all-rounders...are you trying to say Imran, Botham & Hadlee were not all-rounders? only Kapil was... do I need to say more... :-)

  • ROLAYH on November 3, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    but again please please please don't take me wrong, I respect Kapil the all rounder as much as anyone. Carrying the burden of pace less attack for so long is not a joke, his hitting abilities were also precious. Also I felt bad for him when he had to drag for many matches to beat the then world record of Hadlee wickets. Spoiled his statistics big time (I believe it was Indian cricket board's insistence)...

  • ROLAYH on November 3, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    Again I am not undermining Kapil Dev's abilities...however just addressing the point... ((niether from bowler nor from Shakur rana type umpiring)).. well Hadlee was also the counterpart case of Kapil in terms of no support from other end, difference is their stats is evident. About umpiring dude please watch some old matches of India in India before even commenting such thing. I am not saying only Indian umpires were biased, it was the trend of that time. Umpiring was considered a home advantage like home crowd, home pitches in that era. It was Imran who called for neutral umpires for the first time, and infact if I remember correctly Pak v Wind series was the first one played under the supervision of neutral umpires. About the argument that Kapil played on dust tracks, where do you think Imran hailed from? Australia... Pakistani pitches were and are as dust bowls as Indian pitches, unfortunately Kapil never had the same pace and art to extract something out of such tracks...

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 3, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Ranjan you asked,'Who will you pay to wtch an explosive batsman scoring 50 or slow death scoring 60? Kapil 5500 runs, Strike rate 95, highest score 163, 8 hundreds. Imran Khan 3806 run 5 centuries highest score136 pathetic strike rate of less then 50"

    The answer is that I would love to watch Kapil over all the other so called allrounders..what natural flair and what a clean cricketer.

    @Kapli Dev does not need any boosting he himself was a booster for the side :)

  • absha1 on November 3, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    @ Ranjan Mishra I would watch Kapil bat with pleasure, but Imran with much greater pleasure. I would watch Imran in 1986 in Faisalabad, the third test, Pakistan and West Indies at 1-1, and Imran and Tauseef at 125 for 7 survive an hour and a half against the greatest bowling attack in history and tie a series against the ultimate team in history. I would watch Imran beat them in 1991, the first test, where he makes 73 no, in the first inn, one of only three players to reach double figures. And I would watch Imran in the last test of that series, where the West Indies have the upper hand, the ultimate team is finally going to break the upstart Pakistanis, but Imran comes and bats for five hours, 58 no, the greatest test of temperament, to ensure Pakistan remain unbeaten. I would watch Imran in Australia, when he walks in at 6/5, makes 136, and mentors Wasim Akram to his first century (123). Yup, I would watch Imran, because everyone is in awe of him, and he performs and they perform.

  • absha1 on November 3, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    By some people's reckoning here, Kapil is even better than Miandad, who had a Strike rate of 67. Yawn.

  • absha1 on November 3, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    @ Gulshan_Grover - No I have not proven Kapil is a better one day bat than Imran. He had a strike rate of 95 but an average of 24. Imran had a strike rate of 72 but an average of 33. I know who I would take. By your reckoning, Kapil is an Afridi type batsman with one good knock, but more than enough disappointments to last a lifetime. It provides for spectacular cameos but does not win matches regularly. That is why I added Steve Waugh, a gritty, and great ODI batsman if ever there was one, to show how, with his help, Australia became a great team, and how he is similar to Imran. It was, actually, the great Waugh who, on that day in Lahore, beat Pakistan in the semi final. It brought Imran's great 1987 WC to an end ( I think 17 wickets, bowling in 5 matches, at 13 ave). Anyway, this Kapil boosting is getting pathetic. Imran said that Kapil had great batting potential but never developed it. The 175 knock, versus 24 average, shows that. And Imran was all about excelling to your limit.

  • KiwiRocker- on November 3, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    What is relevance of Kapil Dev around here? He played 500 test matches for his 400 odd wickets. He won nothing of substance for India. Just like Tendulkar has won nothing! Folks, Imran Khan was a very successful captain who also won a world cup with a fairly dysfunctional team. This is a joke! Talk about cheating…Harbhajan Singh is chukking for 15 years. Sachin Tendulkar was caught red handed doing ball tampering (Twice) &fined. Imran khan never was accused/caught of ball tampering. He sure made honest mention of changing condition of ball by bowlers in county cricket. What is the big fuss? BCCI has manipulated the world and they do not even use the cricket ball that is being used in other countries so chukker Harbhajan and an average Zaheer could get some swing..hahah! and what about UDRS? When are not they using that…Talk about Uncle Pawar being head of ICC. Wait until world cup when India as usual will sit back and watch other's winning in their own backyard!Hema? where is stats?

  • on November 3, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    Who will you pay to wtch an explosive batsman scoring 50 or slow death scoring 60? Kapil 5500 runs, Strike rate 95, highest score 163, 8 hundreds. Imran Khan 3806 run 5 centuries highest score136 pathetic strike rate of less then 50. Kapil no bottle opener but 430 some wickets on dusty dead indian pitch from no support from other side (niether from bowler nor from Shakur rana type umpiring) Imran 362 wickets with all the help available. 4 consecutive sixes to save follow on as 9th wicket paternership. 175 not out to avoid exit from world cup and eventually win it and not like imran whose performance was not that great in 1992 but leading by example. only fault kapil can't be taken in same breath as he is indian. to be consider great by my muslim friends you have to be from their side. Wasim was chosen in wold 11 because he was left hander not because he is better then hadlee, mcgrath or ambrose and it was a balance act for lt and rt hand combination.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 3, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    That quote was from Gideon my favorite writer on cricinfo. Kapil was the most explosive batsman who was grand father of big hitting and even Sehwag and Afridi can not match his brilliance who gave damn to stats and analysis. It is easy to belittle this great cricketer using the same washed out stale stats of batting and bowling averages. He never cared for them and still beat Sachin and Gavaskar for best indian cricket player award. Long Live Kapil and his brand of cricket !

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 3, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    No one is denying that Imran was not a great allrounder. But no one should belittle Kapil Dev because of Bias. 'Two-hundred and seventeen of Kapil Dev's 432 Test wickets were taken in the heat and dust of India by uncompromising toil; Above all, by leading India to the World Cup of 1983, he turned his country's cricket priorities on their head. He retained a sense of play and adventure- At the Gabba in December 1980, he launched Jeremy Coney over the roof of the Clem Jones Stand and into Stanley Street during an innings of 75 off 51 balls; the puckish New Zealander waved his white handkerchief like a flag of surrender. When he hit his second ball for six and his third down long-off's throat as India stumbled to defeat against England HE WAS AXED. But Kapil, for all that he accomplished, never really relented. He won the Lord's Test of June 1986 with three fours and a six off Phil Edmonds; he saved the follow-on there four years later with four consecutive sixes off Eddie Hemmings.'

  • ROLAYH on November 3, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    @ Gulshan_Grover... you are kidding right... Kapil might be the better batsman of the all rounders quad of 80s... but overall he was better...of course you are kidding... :-)... BTW I've read Abasha comments, where exactly did he prove that... :S

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 3, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    @absha1 congratulations! you have proved that Kapil Paaji was better than other three allrounders in batting (who could play that immortal knock of 175 not out), was ahead by a country mile in fielding, and equal to others in nice clean swing bowling on flattest of pitches san any support. Argument is indeed settle Kapil Paaji 95, Imran the accumulator 77.

  • absha1 on November 3, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    Sorry, my mistake. Genuine typo. Botham had 0 centuries in ODIs, not 1. Apologize about that.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 3, 2010, 0:26 GMT

    Great Kapil Dev No one would suggest that 1983 was a one-man show but even a cursory look at the figures will reveal what a talisman Kapil was for his team. In eight matches, he scored 303 runs (at 60.6), took 12 wickets (at 20.41) and held seven catches, including the stunner to dismiss Viv Richards that transformed the final. Because of his involvement with the Indian Cricket League, though, Kapil no longer attracts eulogies from those in the corridors of power. Those that have never held a bat or ball in their lives have decided that a man who scored 5,248 Test runs and took 434 wickets for his country (3,783 runs and 253 wickets in ODIs) should be treated like a pariah. But the fact is that this humble cricketer was the best in his time. Yes, Imran tried everything (literally everything) to play for the stats but this gentle giant played international cricket with enthusiasm of a 18 year old boy and did not care to ornate the record books. Indeed he was a super athlete.

  • on November 2, 2010, 23:11 GMT

    he will remain the greatest allrounder/captain for Pakistan for ages to come.....

  • JayPmorgan on November 2, 2010, 22:56 GMT

    To my indian friends , you guys are too obsessed with stats and averages. It is not just figures that make a great player . If you have seen the series 'ESPNs Legends of Cricket' you will have seen how highly Imran is rated by his contemporaries. That is the mark of a player. The greatest allrounder in history is Sir Garry Sobers. If you see his stats then his bowling seems relatively poor. But the reality was different. There are bowlers with much better reocrds then Wasim Akram yet he was voted by EXPERTS in the greatest XI as justifiably was Sachin Tendulkar. I dont hear you guys saying that Ken Barrington should be in because his batting average is superior. Remember the saying" there are lies , there are damned lies and then there are statistics". Imran is better than Kapil. GET OVER IT !

  • itsjustcricket on November 2, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    @AhmadSaleem...don't let these partisan comments get to you, in fairness they are done by both sides with some bashing Tendulkar with selective statistics, when this post isn't even about him. i grew up a big fan of Kapil in India but have no hesitation in recognising Imran as the best of his time, just as tendulkar is the best of his contemporaries. Imran was a better bowler, btsman, and captain than Kapil. Kapil was a better fielder and a more talented batsman with more strokes, but ultimately it's performance that matters, and Imran did more. Botham in his prime probably outdid Imran but a cricketer should be judged over their entire career and Imran was better overall.

  • on November 2, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    Nice article Osman, Imran khan is indeed the greatest cricketer ever to play the game, most charismatic one too.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    OMG..... I can't believe it. First they tried to prove Tendulkar better than Bradman. Now Dev over Imran and after Bhaji's retirement, I think they would probably suggest him better than Muralitharan. What great fans these players have got in fact fanatics should I say.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover: Get your facts right, Imran averaged an incredible 21 against the mighty West Indies with the ball. Don't spread false information if you don't have any logic to prove your claims right. Imran's average was below 30 against every country, he bowled in or bowled against. You may consult statsguru. Imran's batting was weaker than his bowling but same was the case with sobers that his bowling was weaker(only 6 five fors). You don't call him a great all rounder either? Oh I see, probably the likes of Parbhakar and Shastri were greatest.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 2, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Hey come on you sore losers, how would you justify his under 30 bowling average in every country(7 I suppose) he played in every where around the globe if he got the support of umpires and tampering at home? Anyone, answer me?

  • Azfar on November 2, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    Looks like there is war going on who was the best of the 4 great all-rounders and also on how good a player was Imran. Let me tell you guys...forget statistics....just citing stats will only take you so far....There is something greater than stats and that is the sheer impact a player has on the cricketing fortunes of his country....the self-belief he instills in his fellow players, the way he motivates the team to perform far above their abilities.....these cannot be nailed down in 'cold stats'. On all these counts Imran comes out at the top. He never cared about stats too much. His main motivation was to take risks and to take on the best and beat them. After he had retired in 1987 he came back to lead the team in 1989 on a tour of all conquering West Indies when no one wanted to be captain (including Miandad). He drew 1-1 taking 20 wickets in 3 tests at age 37. Guys, take a reality check......don't get lost in the detail....look at the big picture......

  • SunilPotnis on November 2, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Imran Khan was one of the best cricketing personalities and probably the best in the Pakistan cricket. Look, where Pakistan cricket is today after having lost Imran, Miandad, Wasim and Waqar. I grew up in India but always admired Imran for his bowling & his captaincy, Miandad for his ability to create runs and determination and finally the Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram who could do anything with the cricket ball.

    Imran was a great motivator and to take on the mighty West Indies in 80's and come close to winning on his own abilities and motiviating his team to do well against the best, is sublime skills

  • doesitmatter on November 2, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    strokeless wonder and a ball tamperer..that sums up his batting and bowling..did he not say he used the bottle top..he tooks 40 wickets in a series you all know how..Kapil to me was the best batsman of 80's among allrounders records against WI and a century against SA proves it and the best bowler is Hadlee..

  • absha1 on November 2, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    @ Martin Hooks - I would call an ODI batsman with a 77 strike rate (although you are wrong about that!) and one century an excellent lower middle order ODI batsman for the 80s/early 90s. That was pre-fielding restrictions and protective gear, as well as larger fields.

    Ian Botham: ODI strike rate: 79 centuries: 1, fifties: 9, average: 24, matches: 116 Kapil Dev: ODI Strike Rate: 95 centuries: 1, fifties: 14, ave: 24, matches: 225 Hadlee: ODI Strike rate: 75 cnenturies: 0, fifties: 4,ave: 21, matches: 115

    In context: Here is a great who batted as a lower middle order bat in a more adventurous era (90s), as well as the earlier 80s: Steve Waugh ODI strike rate: 76, centuries: 3, fifties: 45, ave: 33, matches: 335

    Imran: ODI SR: 73, centuries: 1, fifties: 19,ave: 33, matches: 175

    Argument settled.

  • absha1 on November 2, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    Sorry mates, this whole ball tampering notion you bring up does not wash. Imran talked about using a bottle top in a county game as a lark. He is an honest person, and he had no reason to bring it up; read the Ivo Tennant story. I know it is fun to brainlessly fling mud without context, especially when you have nothing to hang on to with respect to Imran, but it does not work. Nobody understood reverse swing in those days, and so everyone was casting around for an explanation, especially mediocre Mumbai based swing bowlers. When England figured out reverse swing and won the Ashes, or Zaheer Khan works some mediocre movement to pummel Australia, you people are happy. And Martin Hooks, dragging Vettori in is silly. Also, how did you go from saying Imran picked who he bowled to to Imran was a great bowler? A change of mind? Maybe you should now read up the match reports which tell how he saved Pakistan time and again as a batsman?

  • Lekson on November 2, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    Imran was a great bowler, average batsman and poor fielder NOT a great allrounder.

  • on November 2, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    1. First half of careergood bowler, 2nd half ok batsman with limited stroke but good temparament. 2. His wicket tally helped by favourable umpiring decision at home turf and ball tampering allegations. 3.played less cricket for a longer period of time with many gaps helped recover the body, opposition did not have time to devise strategy to deal with players like him as usually not the permanent fixture.( for example Ajantha mendis would have been great bowler of all time but soon after his debut opposition studied him and he is no more a threat. 4. Do have better average then Kapil but less flair, less centuries and lot less run(for example Mike hussey and Kevin peterson average lot better initially but when they have to play regularly and score 5000 test run their average fall) 5. I mran was good captain but had great players to back up pakistan performances. Kapil won world cup single handedly with an average indian team against mighty west indies, australia, england.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 2, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    From A player who played in 82-83 series: The Mumbai-based swing bowler, who claimed the wicket of Gordon Greenidge in the first over of the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies, stressed that he did not rate Imran higher than his former captain Kapil Dev. "Kapil was a very clean cricketer. He got all his wickets without doing funny things with the ball. Richard Hadlee was clean too. Imran will never be on top of my list of great bowlers," Sandhu signed off. During his debut series in Pakistan, 1982-83, Sandhu suspected something was being done to the ball by the Pakistani bowlers and fielders during drink intervals. "Our doubts were confirmed when some of their players, who were dropped during the series told us that the ball was tampered with," said Sandhu. Imran is reported to have said recently that he never tampered with the ball, but in the book Imran by Ivo Tennant, he admitted using a bottle crown to scratch the ball. So much so for the big indipper !! LOL !

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 2, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman. PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 2, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    @Kiwi...please refer to my earlier post on data picking, Kambli and Bradman.

  • Lekson on November 2, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    I think Imran is a bit overrated as an allrounder. Fair enough he was a great bowler but how many matches did he win for pakistan with the bat? He only scored 6 centuries in 88 Test Matches, is this what you call great? His fielding also wasn't great either.He only boosted his batting average in last 10 years of his career with a lot of not outs that weren't relevant.Botham and Kapil were more genuine/better allrounders than him because they turned matches with both ball and bat and Botham's fielding/slip catching was of the highest class. Imran was a great bowler. End of story.

  • cricketchopper on November 2, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    unjust and bias inclusion of Sachin in World XI caused exclusion of Imran and Murli from XI

  • on November 2, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    Well his stats are better( however very biased and to optimize by choosing years cleverly) but if someone play less cricket for longer period as Imran did they are bound to have better stats. I wll explain why- 1. Their body recover better then a guy who has been playing regularly. 2. People forget about them and they almost always produce excellent performance in their return series however guys who play continously opposition study them find their weakness and attack on them. As far as captaincy is concerned, its about getting amazing results with an average team like Kapil did in 1983 but Imran had a finest team with Greats like Inzy,Miandad,Akaram and Waqar in 1992. However controversial there is argument Imran and other did use unfair means to produce better performances (ball tempering and all).even their team mates claim that recently.3.Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a good bowler but lower order batsman.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 2, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    @Kiwi, the data that you brandish has been discredited by many readers at various forums and has no relation to current topic at hand which is, is Imran a world class test allrounder. The consensus seems to be overall yes but since he was never dominant with a bat like Kapil and did not bowl much at a late stage of his career, it is difficult for him to make world test eleven especially when he is likely to be a liability in the field.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 2, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Imran averaged 41 with the ball in the 4th inning and 41 against strongest side of his time WI. PLus Kapil's batting record against WI is much much better than Imran. Why?

  • Sriram_Krishnamurthy on November 2, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    @kiwirocker - No doubt Imran is a great cricketer who changed the face of Pakistan cricket. But Sachin is a demi god in India. Even today, if someone says the score is 17/3, the first question will be "Is Sachin still there?". He has managed to maintin this for the last 21 years. Also, Sachin is a role model, who sponsors 200 kids a year for food, clothing, shelter and education. Not as well publicized as Imran's cancer hospital. But that is the person he is. He is fighting cancer and u can see his tweets asking for support from people. Above all, he doesn't have a Sita White controversy, divorce controversy after marrying a girl 20 years younger and a failed political career. Believe me, it is not easy to be a Sachin.

  • Dhaanu on November 2, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    One thing which the World XI exercise has shown us is that quite a lot of cricket fans confuse loyalty to a team with xenophobia. Your countrymen might be legends with a place booked in the pantheon of cricketing greats, but that does not mean that the players of other countires are rubbish.

    Also to those of you who bring out obscure stats to prove their points, please read Zaltzman on Page 2 to see how they can be manipulated to say any thing.

  • swaran23 on November 2, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    @kiwi rocker... yeo viv richards was the great batsman...........but u forgot something..... he was the part of the team who got best bowlers of his tym.....

    and another stat for u sachin averages mare than 40 in every country he has played execpt south africa...where he averages around 38 or something........

  • on November 2, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Self belief is the real asset imran possess and it is the combination of share hard work and intaligent thinking which help him in becoming such a wonderfull cricketer.Without any doubt he is the best pakistani captain who utilised his resources in accordance with the demand of time and enable the team to dominate the situation.To me both you and saad sahfqat have the ability to expess the complex nature of pakistan cricket team and the role played by imran khan in transforming it from a disjointed lot to world beaters.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 2, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Tampering with the ball to get undeserving wickets. Using bottle caps, etc. The man who revolutionized the art of ball tampering and passed it on to Wasim and Waqar. The man who basically stole more than half of his wickets illegally. Great cricketer indeed, LOL.

  • KiwiRocker- on November 2, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Hema: You want some data? I am waiting on some response from anyone who could challange my numbers: Here is some hard cold facts about the most over rated batsman of world Tendulkar: In tests against Australia; Sachin averages a modest 36.77 against Australia when McGrath played. In test against SA; Sachin averages a pathetic 32 against South Africa whenever Allan Donald has played.Tendulkar was a failure against Wasim and Waqar and hardly played against them. He anyway averaged 32 runs against them. Interestingly he still averages around 40 against Pakistan. Against the 3 greatest fast bowlers of his era, whom he faced in more than one Test series, McGrath, Donald and Akram, Sachin has scored 1719 Test runs at a modest average of 34.3 (compared to his career average of 56). This is the very definition of being over-rated. You can not become best by scoring against Shane Warne.You need to score against the best to become the best. Just like Sir Viv Richards!

    Now that is called data!

  • KiwiRocker- on November 2, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Push away the imposters like Kapil Dev and Tendulkar…Folks, this is a real legend.An iconic cricketer from subcontinent who changed the face of cricket not only in Pakistan but all around the world.What is a definition of a complete cricketer? Yes, Imran Khan!..Why are people mentioning Kapil dev? It is a joke to even mention Kapil in same breath as the king Khan.Who cares what the world XI is..Imran Khan also defied the odds and won from impossible positions. People often forget that the wonderful contribution Khan has made to his countrymen by building a first class cancer hospital.This was a man driven by passion, pride and sheer determination. Greedy cricketers like Tendulkar are impostors in front of Khan. This is a man who reduced Sunil Gavaskar who was best Indian batsman miles ahead of Tendulkar to a mere rookie!.This is a man who tested himself against the best in the business…A real legend, a real hero..a wonderful, educated man. Has anyone seen an indipper to G.Vishwanath?

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 2, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    @Malik77, if I had the luxury of cherry picking the data I could prove that Kambli was better than Bradman, but I would not and should not do that.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 2, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    I just read an article on Dan Vettori and realized that even he has more runs/centuries in test cricket than the supposedly great allrounder. I have no problem with him being considered one of the great bowlers but sorry to say the batting and the fielding leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to all round skill. Leadership and captaincy are not part of allrounder's profile. Many great allrounders like Keith Miller never captained their national team. Hence he is not a world eleven material but he should definitely be in the ASIA eleven along with Kapil and may even lead that side.

  • Malik77 on November 2, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    @Hema- Jan 1980 to Dec 1988 48 2028 39.76 4/ 10 236 17.77 18/ 5

    9 years is not decent enough span of time for you I guess?

  • Haxin on November 2, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    @Pirsig.

    Spot on, analysis.

  • Engle on November 2, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    Imran has had many all-round performances in the same match and series. He (along with Botham) are the only 2 to have completed a century and 10wkts in the same match. Also, his all-round series performances when newly appointed captain against England was remarkable, 200+ runs and 20 wkts. Followed thereafter with All-Round winning performances at home vs Aus and India. He seemed to fit the void of greatest need. When Pakistan had adequate batting in Majid, Sadiq, Zaheer, Mushtaq, Asif Iqbal etc, he filled the fast bowling void. When Pakistan had no leadership, he filled in the leadership void. And when Pakistan had Wasim and Waqar, but a volatile batting lineup, he filled in the batting void. What more can one ask for ?

  • syedahmed91 on November 2, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    I personally don't like Imran Khan because of what he did to our other great, Javid Miandad. Javid's career was ruined by politics and Imran Khan was behind it. Javid could've easily been the greatest batsmen to emerge from asia before sachin had imran not been so bothered by the fact he was from Karachi. However, one can't dispute his ability to take wickets inspite of his art in leg-pulling. It's funny how those two things have trensended in pakistan cricket and done a fair share of work. Also very ironic to listen to imran talk about pakistan have 50 some captains after he retired, guess who they learned it from???

  • Chirs-Cry on November 1, 2010, 23:55 GMT

    As far as all-rounders are concerned according to their era since late 1950's and mid of 70's it was one and only -Sir Garry Sobers and yet still he remains the best all rounder of all time

    in the next era of all-rounders, there were many contenders between late 70's and early 90's but one stands out to be best among the rest -Imran Khan

    nowadays i can only think of J.Kallis. i hope no one calls it bias selection coz its not

  • Chirs-Cry on November 1, 2010, 23:45 GMT

    With respect to every player (all-rounders) and everyone here i would just like to conclude this article once for all... i definitely agree that Imran Khan was the second best allrounder till date and ofcourse after Sir G.Sobers. since Sober was a very dominant batsmen....he lacked the 'proper' bowling skills. Whereas Imran Khan was a very devastating and destructive bowler.....but he wasn't really a capable batsmen as Sober was. Batting Sobers>Imran Bowling Sobers<Imran this i think is all i can conclude.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 1, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    I somewhat agree with Hema, to be considered a great allrounder a player has to have potential to win the same test either with bat or with ball and not like OK before injury I could perform with the ball and when I am not bowling I will focus on batting to keep my place and improve averages . If the same player is also a poor fielder, he can be called anything else but not a true world class allrounder.

  • Engle on November 1, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    When you have a freak batsman averaging 100 like Bradman, then the All-Rounder position should go to a bowling All-rounder. Now, Sobers can hold his place in the World XI on the strength of his batting alone. Imran then, should have got the #6 All-Round position. The judges, renowned bunch that they are, should have realized this basic point. Dont bolster the batting when you have Bradman; bolster the bowling and while you're at it, do the same for the wkeeping.

  • omar_rehman82 on November 1, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover... Dude, we are talking about Imran Khan here not Sachin Tendulkar. Don't confuse Imran with Sachin.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 1, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    Imran's career is a tale of two halves. In one half he was a great bowler but lower order Harbhajan like batsman. In second half he was an average bowler but a tenacious batsman with limited stroke play but sound temperament (like Manoj Prabhakar). Hence, his overall record taken together looks better than anyone but in truth he was never at a bowling and batting peak together for any decent length of time (unlike Botham from 1979-1982) hence the tag of allrounder does not apply to him. At one time he was a great bowler and much much later a dependable batsman.

    PS: thats why you dont see many match winning all round performances from him like Botham and Sobers etc even though he won quite few matches based on his bowling alone early in his career.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 1, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    @pirsig: a lot of mumbo jumbo but ultimately a poor conclusion. I agree that Sobers was way better than Imran and hence naturally he should be in the eleven so in world 11 where every player is absolutely the best and is an expert for the position you want to field two all rounders? Thats a poor call. Imran was a great player but he was not so good that he replaces Sobers from his lofty perch.

  • absha1 on November 1, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    @ Martin Hooks - You are right; Imran was very picky who he bowled to. He refused to play NZ because Hadlee was not touring - no challenge. As for strokeless wonder - he was the responsible captain. Ever see a Pakistani batting collapse? Pakistan were the second best side globally because at number 6 or 7, they had a batsman who would regularly play for every extra ball, and squeeze every extra run out of the tail, for himself and the others. The English are called heroes when they do it. It is called marshalling the tail, getting the best out of your team, or winning. Even against the West Indies, when he averages low with the bat (everybody did), in that nine match series, Pakistan won or drew at least four matches because of Imran's batting. In bowling, at his peak he averaged less than Marshall and also faced the WI batting. Had he not been injured, he would, as Akram says, have hit 500 wickets. And his 6 centuries, frankly, compare with Sobers' 6 five wicket hauls.

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    INTANGIBLES - the only cricketer in the history of the sport who can be compared to Imran when we talk about leadership is Frank Worrell. I doubt if anyone even comes close. What Imran has done for Pakistan , not just cricket , but national pride , is beyond compare. We have to look at Bradman after World War II , Ali during Civil Rights , Worrell in WI mending a fractured island and national psyche to find equals.

    In this regard , none of the all rounders , Sobers included , have done anything even remotely comparable to Imran. As a leader , he was in a league of his own. With the exception of erudite and sophisticated and unbelievably talented Wasim Raja , Pakistan were a bunch of retards. To get them to do something was great. To win so much is herculean. Imran is a mythical figure and not just a cricketing great in that regard.

    All said and done , overall , Imran is the second best all rounder but the gap between him and Sobers is huge. Immi does belong in the W-11.Period.

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    FIELDING - Imran was the worst fielder among all rounders ...Kallis and Shaun Pollock included. This is a pakistani affliction. Simply Pakistan has not produced even a mediocre fielder in their history and this might have to do with the cricket culture in paksitan. you bat or bowl and that is that.

    Sobers was a world class fielder in the company of Mark waugh , Rhodes , Taylor , Randall , Harper ,Colin Bland , Lloyd etc...Sobers was breath taking. This freak drives the golf ball 400 yards from the tee with two broken knee caps at the age of 70. He was an athlete who could've played volleyball or soccer or run the 400 meters for Barbados...all in the same year. Let us leave this freak out of any discussion please. We have to look at Jim thorpe or sugar Robinson or Ali or Jordan or Federer to find someone like Sobers.

    Botham and Kapil were exceptional fielders...just a notch below the above group. Hadlee was good.Imran was a bad fielder. Poor technique and naturally not talented.

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    BOWLING -

    Imran was world class. I don't care about stats. But even stats , no matter how you dissect it , will tell you that Imran belonged in the same class as Marshall and Wasim. I believe that Imran should have been picked instead of Lillee in the W-11.

    Lillee is being looked upto as the consumate modern bowler along with Roberts and he really set the bar very high. He was great. No doubt about that. Fast bowlers looked upto him and learned from him...Imran included (during the WSC days). But Imran was not just good , he was great. His indipper was as grave a threat as Lillee's leg cutter if not more. Imran was capable of destroying lineups when the mood strikes him. In this , he was above even Hadlee...the other , Botham and Kapil were not a patch on Imran when it came to bowling. That is the truth. Imran clearly ahead of Sobers in the bowing dept although Sobers was more versatile and didn't take bowling seriously. Round to Imran.

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Lots of interesting views comparing Imran with other all rounders...let me break it down...

    BATTING Imran no where in the same league as Sobers. If Imran is half as good as Sobers in batting , then I'm a better bowler than Marshall and Imran combined. Please watch Sobers batting if you can...I doubt if Kanhai , Rowe or even Grame Pollock among his contemporaries could match sobey in batting.Timeless genius . Enough said

    Among his all rounder peers , Imran is above Hadlee but both Kapil and Botham were better batsmen. However , Imran had the best temperament and the biggest heart and was above everything else , responsible and committed to the cause. Botham and Kapil had close to 80+ strike rates even in tests and when they were on , an absolute treat to watch... But , if I'm the captain of the team I would pick Imran to bat ahead of the other two knowing fully well that Imran will never throw his wicket away and valued it more than the other three...

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 1, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    @kjurram-Yes, I did watch cricket then and I stand by my comments with regard to Imran being a strokeless wonder. His strike rate in ODIs was 77 and he scored precisely one century. What would you call mid seventy strike rate in ODI?

  • Engle on November 1, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    @Matin_Hooks. The objective of the #6 batsman is to carry the tail as far as possible, extracting every ounce of runs. This is what Imran has done so well, that his batting average at #6 is in the top 3 of all time IIRC. Also, if one were to take captaincy into account in the ranking of All-rounders, and frankly I cannot see why not, then Imran would even surpass the great Sobers. His greatest contribution to Pakistan was not his batting or bowling; it was his leadership.

  • khurramlone on November 1, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    @Martin_Hooks. Imran Khan Strokeless wonder? Really? Not sure if you followed cricket at that time. Completely agree with you that he is in a different category from Botham. Other than '81 Ashes, Botham for most part of his career was an ordinary player against good opposition. Imran Khan was at his best against high quality opposition. Imran stats are great, but the real reason for "hero worship" was his ability to be at his best against the best teams of his times.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 1, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    He was never a proper allrounder in the same test/series. His overall stats looks good and thats waht confuses people. In his first part of career he was a bowler and later he became a batsman who scored mostly in draw and dead test matches. But he never performed like a champion allrounder in the same test with both bat annd ball ala a botham , sobers or even Venoo Mankad.

    When choosing an allrounder emphasis should be on allrounders who have won matches with both bat and the ball in tandem and not who look great stastistically but lack substance.

  • Azfar on November 1, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    The discussion on the recent All time World eleven and Imran's exclusion from it, is becoming interesting. I was quite surprised to find Imran missing from World eleven and the fact that he narrowly made the second eleven. Also the fact that the jury rated Keith Miller ahead of him. I saw Ian Chappel's interview on Cricinfo on how & why each player was chosen. He was his usual lucid and interesting self. What I failed to understand was that there was no mention of who would captain the world eleven. This discussion and the Statistical Analysis by S. Rajesh makes it crystal clear that Imran has to figure in that world eleven and should be the captain. I will omit Lillee and include Imran. Wasim's presence adds variety as he was left arm fast.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 1, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    Imran was a good bowler, though he was very picky about when to bowl and when not to. However, in batting he was at par with Hadlee as both were strokeless wonders for most of their careers. Though Kapil may have scored less than Imran statistically, everyone knows he was a far far superior batsman than him. Botham and Sobers were in different class altogether when it came to batting. All in all, since his fielding was poor as well one can not justify his inclusion in world eleven except for hero worship and bias.

  • Engle on November 1, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    The greatest bowlers of Imran's era, one could argue, were Lillee, Hadlee and Marshall. Would it surprise you if I said that in total Tests where they bowled against Imran, he comes out ahead ? Imran had the ability to raise his game to match the challenge. Not for him, the accumulations of stats against minnows. This is the key attribute of greatness. The relegation of personal numbers to the common good of the entire team. (SRT, take note ). Imran was batsman, bowler, captain, mentor, motivator, selector, public relations, law changer...a colossus whose place in cricket history is secure

  • AhmadSaleem on November 1, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    @Fuzzy_Logic: Are you sure that Lillee was an all rounder?

  • Azfar on November 1, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Osman, I must compliment you for bringing out Imran, the man who transformed Pakistan Cricket. This makes him far

    greater than his statistics or cricketing exploits. Well, let me tell you, Imran happens to be my Cricketing hero.

    And that is not just because of his cricketing prowess, formidable though they are. It is because of the way he

    transformed his team, and transformed Cricket itself. Osman, one point you have missed is that it was Imran who

    introduced nuetral umpiring. It was so obvious that this was the solution to the frequent umpiring contraversies but

    ICC was not doing anything about it. Imran did this on his own knowing fully well that winning would be much easier

    with Paki umpires at home !! Then there is an array of players, Qadir, Wasim, Waqar, Inzamam and other who were

    handpicked and then mentored to greatness under Imran's tutelage. Well I can go on and on......what a Cricketer and

    what a man..

  • on November 1, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Yes without a doubt Imran is the best cricketer of last quater of last century and the best cricketer produced by the sub continent.The impact of imran on pak cricket can not be measured.He is a born leader of man. It will take some time for him to show his worth in the quite different area of politics

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    @ Farhad. I have no problems admitting that Imran Khan is the second best all rounder ever after Sobers.

  • itsjustcricket on November 1, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    @fahad khan.....I am an Indian and could not agree with you more. Imran was the best of the BIKH quartet, and either he (or Hadlee for that matter) should have been in the world eleven ahead of Lillee, IMHO. Comparisons with Sobers are meaningless as Sobers was a batting allrounder and Imran a bowling allrounder. Imran beat India in India, England in England, and had justice been served, WI in WI. And he led Pak to the WC. That speaks for itself.

  • dinster77 on November 1, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    And after all this - his biggest strength lay in his ability to control the uncontrollables. Pakistan in my memory has always had big issues with followers - every one thought they were better than the captain - but for the few years that Imran held reign, there appeared a semblance of control. All this while he was teaching his people the will to win and how to be the best fast bowlers in the world...

    I have no qualms about Imran not making it to the all time XI. It is but natural for a paksitani to feel that way, and an indian to feel that Gavaskar's exclusion was wrong, and for an New zealander that way about Hadlee. But if they made a XI out of champion hearted people to have ever played the game - Imran would be my captain of that XI!

  • ROLAYH on November 1, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    @ The_Dynamite_Kid :As bowlers, Hadlee, Marshall, Garner, Lillee, Roberts, McGrath, Ambrose, Donald are all better than this overrated Imran Khan.

    Again not undermining these greats, but everyone has negatives in their statistics. Hadlee was the only serious wicket taking bowler in his team. Garner, not played enough matches to be considered among all time greats, Lillie, could not even do the containing job in India & Pakistan, Roberts again not enough matches, Donald, Ambrose, McGrath were greats but had their problems in sub-continent. Marshal I admit was the better bowler. I am not saying Imran didn't have any issues anywhere, but point is everyone considered great had few problems against particular opposition, in particular phase, in particular conditions. So we should not undermine any of the greats just because of a minor stats glitch.

  • on November 1, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    Oh and one of those extra batsmen needs to be kicked out as well , why in the world would you have more than 5 batsmen when your tail consists of just one player. Get Khan in for Lillee and there is no tail at all. Then we have the almighty problem of creating a tail. I say , bring Barnes into the first eleven in place of Sachin or Richards. And still the batting line-up would be overloaded. Get in a great keeper , one who can stand up with authority to Warne and Barnes and then you have your perfect balance.

  • on November 1, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    One shoúld respect all the cricketers, as all were unique, versatile and produced the best of cricket that we always cherish. Cricket is a gentlemen´s game, its a sport that brings harmony among people and nations. Develops tolerance and genorousity to admire and appreciate the qualities of the players, and their devotion for the sport. I have admirations for Hadlee, Marshall, Lillee, Roberts, Mcgrath, Ambrose, Donald, Kapil, Gavaskar and many more. For me all of them are Legends in their own way and so is Imran Khan. For us (Pakistanis), he was the one who stood out and lead the Pakistan cricket towards enormous developments, same as Border did for Australia, Gavaskar did for India, Botham did for England, Crow did for Newzeland. Have a big heart boys, if you are cricket fans.

  • ROLAYH on November 1, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    @The_Dynamite_Kid .. dude this is just one statistics... and it is a fact that 4rth inning usually belongs to spinners. Can you give comparative analysis of other pacers in this regard. You know you pick any player he/she will have some points not going in his/her favor. Look at the bowling average of Kapil, no. of centuries of Hadley, Lillies bowling in sub continent, leadership skills of Kapil and Botham, Botham bowling in later half of his career. Pakistan, India & SRL's performance on bouncy tracks, Saeed Anwar and many players' issue outside off stump, Tendulkar never winning any major cricket event, Murali's action and inability to take wickets in South Africa, Australia, Shane Warne's, Ponting's performances against India (in India) to name a few. You can't just conclude a person on one of the statistical aspects. All of the players mentioned above are greats and many of them are legends, despite of certain statistical hiccups...

  • ROLAYH on November 1, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    All respects to Gary Sobers, I don't know (or at least statistics do not suggest) how good he was at a bowling. Apparently he was Kallis like character (again from the figures). So Gary Sobers should be in all time XIs but as a batting all rounder. Imran was truly a great bowler, exceptionally good batsman, good fielder, arguably best captain of his times... he was a complete package... :-)

  • smalishah84 on November 1, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Imran is the greatest bowling all rounder ever

  • AhmadSaleem on November 1, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    King Khan was the best bowler in 80s alongside Marshall and Hadlee. In 70s he was just a good cricketer but 80s saw him transformed into world's best cricketer. With both bat and ball, he was as good as any other batsman or bowler in the world. And after 89 when he started playing as a batting all rounder, he averaged more than 70 with the bat showing that had he played with lesser responsibilities of bowling, how good a batsman he would have been. Probably, he would have had better records than Sobers and Kallis with both bat and ball.

  • AhmadSaleem on November 1, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    harsh_vardhan2002, forget his batting, his bowling was good enough to win him a place in all time world XI. He averaged less than 30 with the ball in all 7 countries he played in, a feat not achieved by many as opposed to Lillee's shambolic average of 100+ in Pakistan. He and Hadlee were way better bowler than Lillee and their batting skills place them much higher as cricketers . And by the way, his batting averages is 38 not 33. His last 3 years show that he was as good a batsman as any other in the world.

  • on November 1, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Arguably Imran is one of the finest all round cricketer ever seen. Sobers is best during his era and imran is best in his era..its difficult to compare both great legend. The influence he made in Pakistan cricket is unmeasurable still i wondering they some of the fans are not ready to recognize the one of the best performer on and off the field .dont measure the people by their skin or race or country i wonder if he may born in India or oz these same ppl will say he is the world best..i think the writer is talking only about his test career his ODI career also good enough to become a world beater

  • Fuzzy_Logic on November 1, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Imran, Lilee, Kapil, Botham, Hadlee wow......what amazing all rounders the era of eighties had.....wish i was born earlier to watch them play.......today only kallis comes close and now his bowling is finished.....

  • on November 1, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    @ Dynamite Kid.... Your name suggest that you are a kid with a minimal knowledge about cricket...Imran Khan was a bowling all-rounder who played most his games in subcontinent where the pitches are so dead that lilliee wants to be buried their and Botham wants to sponsor an all expense paid trip for his Mother in law... getting wickets on a dead wicket needs more skills then bowling on slope of Lords or with the bounce of WACA...or at the quick pitches of Barrbados n South Africa...

  • TheOnlyEmperor on November 1, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    Imran was good, but definitely didn't deserve a place in the W-11. He was way better than Wasim of course.

  • on November 1, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    lol its really funny to see how some of our indian friends are posting the exact same ridiculous comments on both articles (this one and the stat analysis). Please atleast read through the stat analysis. After that if you still dont think he is one of the greatest bowlers ever, and the greatest allrounder after sobers, then you are seriously biased. I mean it makes for great entertainment, bashing each other's heroes just for the sake of it, but imagine how it would feel if a Pakistani starts citing absurd arguments, as you are doing, to argue that younis khan, amir sohail, ijaz ahmed etc were better batsmen than tendulkar. It takes some effort to rise above your biases, but it makes you a true cricket fan. When my Pakistani friends bash Tendulkar, I ask them to imagine that sachin was a Pakistani and then look at his record. For you guys, imagine that imran was an Indian, and then look at his record and achievements. Peace !

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    One of the things interesting about Imran (and to a certain extent Javed) is that their averages are a result of many not outs....more not outs at home than abroad and in Imran's case nearly 70% of his not outs came in the period when he 'averagd' 50...but in WI at home and abroad , his avg was dismal...he averaged 21 in WI (but better than Javed Miandad who probably averaged as much in WI but built his average on lesser teams like NZ , India and Sri Lanka)...

    For Imran anyway , he was not out once in every 5 innings!! He was not out once in 3.7 innings in Pakistan! Until neutral umpires started officiating in the early 1990's when Imran retired , Javed and Imran combined were lbw in pakistan only twice!!!! A comparison across batsmen from other countries does not show this disparity....For example , Sunil Gavaskar was out lbw the same percentage as he was playing abroad...With Javed and Imran , it is nearly 4x!!

    Statistics!! it is not everything but kinda gives you an idea!!

  • Pirsig on November 1, 2010, 8:17 GMT

    @safwan123 clearly you haven't seen Sobers....Imran is not even a patch on Sobers the batsman or Sobers the slip fielder or short leg fielder...not in the same planet...Imran had great temperament but no shots..of all the allrounders , when it comes to sheer skills in batting , Imran was the last....but tempermentally he was sound...

    As a bowler , he was as good as Hadlee if not better...I would like to think he was certainly better than Hadlee in that , he could be a real physical threat when he was on...

    ....but Sobers was in a different league...Nothing against Imran , it is just that Sobers has no equal when it comes to athletic talent wedded to genius. He was a freak and force of nature...Imran was just a great cricketer...and there were many of those...only one Sobers

  • KP_84 on November 1, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    I must thank the author for this very informative article. Imran Khan was a bit before my time, but, as a keen cricket follower, I was well aware that he is one of Pakistan's and the world's all-time great cricketers.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Here's the definition of being overrated. Can anyone guess Imran Khan's bowling figures in the 4th innings of Test matches? A sensational and extraordinary average of 42.09 at an equally mighty strike rate of 91.3

  • K-ABBAS on November 1, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    Yes "The_Dynamite_Kid" is right that Hadlee, Marshall, Garner, Lillee, Roberts, McGrath, Ambrose, Donald were better than Imran. Because they all played on bowler friendly pitches and conditions where Imran played mostly in sub-continent. And also he was Pakistani. And i think Mr. Kid has forgot that he was one of the best captain as well. So these things shows that he wasn't great like the bowlers named above.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Imran Khan is not even the best Asian cricketer. In 2001, ESPN with the help of about 15 elite judges which consisted of mainly former greats and cricket experts compiled a list of the top 25 greatest cricketers of all time. They named the chapter "ESPN Legends of Cricket". Imran Khan came at the 8th spot. The list is - 1.) Don Bradman 2.) Gary Sobers 3.) Viv Richards 4.) Shane Warne 5.) jack Hobbs 6.) Dennis Lillee 7.) Sachin Tendulkar 8.) Imran Khan 9.) Wally Hammond 10.) Sunil Gavaskar 11.) Ian Botham 12.) Richard Hadlee 13.) Keith Miller 14.) W.G. Grace 15.) Graeme Pollock 16.) Malcolm Marshall 17.) Greg Chappell 18.) George Headley 19.) Frank Worrell 20.) Len Hutton. 21.) Wasim Akram 22.) Kapil Dev 23.) Steve Waugh 24.) Barry Richards 25.) Allan Border.

  • on November 1, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    But why did he do ball tampering ?

  • on November 1, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    But why did he do ball tempering if he was so great ?

  • on November 1, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    lille was so disappointed not to have picked a single wicket while playing test in pakistan and blamed wicket for it' well then why picking him in world eleven? 4 test nations play on similar wickets on which he didn't even get a single wicket. And Imran was a master of reverse swing that will cause you problems everywhere.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    As bowlers, Hadlee, Marshall, Garner, Lillee, Roberts, McGrath, Ambrose, Donald are all better than this overrated Imran Khan.

  • on November 1, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    @Arabocentricasian : Why kick Wasim out? I'm calling for Dennis Lillee's head. Imran was a better bowler who bowled in much more unhelpful conditions and yet had a better record. Lillee excelled in AUS and ENG but was scared to tour India and Pak because he did not want to 'spoil' his figures. Add to that Imran was a far superior fielder ; you needed to hide Lillee on the field! The better batting and captaincy factor makes it almost a no-contest.

  • safwan_Umair on November 1, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    call me biased....but i don't agree sobers was better then imran ..... imran played in an era when some of the greatest players of all time were at their peak, and he outperformed them! added to this, he was an outstanding captain. As one wisden editor commented "Imran should lead an all time test eleven" . Pity, he didnt even get picked as a player in it.

    Imran was the finest all round cricketer the game has ever seen .... period.

  • Haxin on November 1, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    As Osman says, Imran's stats don't do justice to his sheer IMPACT on Pakistan cricket -- which can best be gauged by the way things have steadily gone downhill since 1992. Having said that, his figures are mightily impressive, as S Rajesh's article shows.

    Both these articles would fuel the debate about his non-inclusion in the World XI. Given Lillee's insipid performance in the sub-continent, I think the jury has a lot to answer for.

  • AjayB on November 1, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    I am surprised there are not that many comments. Indeed, Imran was among the greatest ever and I will not waste time listing his accomplishments or abilities. He had made the act of watching cricket very pleasurable - though for an Indian, it was mostly painful when India were at the receiving end. That not-withstanding, a great great player and definitely a role model on the cricketing field.

  • BillyCC on November 1, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    Shame he didn't make the First team in the World XI. My theory is that most of the panel didn't go for the two all-rounder option. And obviously no one was kicking out Sobers, who got the full panel vote.

  • Owais_1 on November 1, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    As a Pakistani, I must say we need to get over from living in the past. Cricketwise, Imran has done his bit for King and country. Yes he was a legend, yes he was a ladies man, yes he got us the cup - now move on.

    Look to the future and figure out how we can unearth and groom new legends rather than to destroy the rare finds even before they spread their wings.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 1, 2010, 3:50 GMT

    look he might be the best all rounder of pak but not of world SIR GARFIELD SOBERS ARE WAY WAY WAY ABOVE HIM and the career is measured not just in last decade but in full time of play i am sick of hearing he averaged 50 with and his overall avg is 33 so u imagine how mediocre and shambolic his avy would have been in the first 10 years i think he was probably a better bowler than batsman he could not play even 100 tests in 21 years and has only 6 test hundreds how can u expect him to be in world XI

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Let us start a petition. Imran Khan in rthe ESPN World XI. I dont care if that comes with the cost of kicking Wasim out of that team. Imran Khan is the greatest..

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Arabocentricasian on October 31, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Let us start a petition. Imran Khan in rthe ESPN World XI. I dont care if that comes with the cost of kicking Wasim out of that team. Imran Khan is the greatest..

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on November 1, 2010, 3:50 GMT

    look he might be the best all rounder of pak but not of world SIR GARFIELD SOBERS ARE WAY WAY WAY ABOVE HIM and the career is measured not just in last decade but in full time of play i am sick of hearing he averaged 50 with and his overall avg is 33 so u imagine how mediocre and shambolic his avy would have been in the first 10 years i think he was probably a better bowler than batsman he could not play even 100 tests in 21 years and has only 6 test hundreds how can u expect him to be in world XI

  • Owais_1 on November 1, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    As a Pakistani, I must say we need to get over from living in the past. Cricketwise, Imran has done his bit for King and country. Yes he was a legend, yes he was a ladies man, yes he got us the cup - now move on.

    Look to the future and figure out how we can unearth and groom new legends rather than to destroy the rare finds even before they spread their wings.

  • BillyCC on November 1, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    Shame he didn't make the First team in the World XI. My theory is that most of the panel didn't go for the two all-rounder option. And obviously no one was kicking out Sobers, who got the full panel vote.

  • AjayB on November 1, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    I am surprised there are not that many comments. Indeed, Imran was among the greatest ever and I will not waste time listing his accomplishments or abilities. He had made the act of watching cricket very pleasurable - though for an Indian, it was mostly painful when India were at the receiving end. That not-withstanding, a great great player and definitely a role model on the cricketing field.

  • Haxin on November 1, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    As Osman says, Imran's stats don't do justice to his sheer IMPACT on Pakistan cricket -- which can best be gauged by the way things have steadily gone downhill since 1992. Having said that, his figures are mightily impressive, as S Rajesh's article shows.

    Both these articles would fuel the debate about his non-inclusion in the World XI. Given Lillee's insipid performance in the sub-continent, I think the jury has a lot to answer for.

  • safwan_Umair on November 1, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    call me biased....but i don't agree sobers was better then imran ..... imran played in an era when some of the greatest players of all time were at their peak, and he outperformed them! added to this, he was an outstanding captain. As one wisden editor commented "Imran should lead an all time test eleven" . Pity, he didnt even get picked as a player in it.

    Imran was the finest all round cricketer the game has ever seen .... period.

  • on November 1, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    @Arabocentricasian : Why kick Wasim out? I'm calling for Dennis Lillee's head. Imran was a better bowler who bowled in much more unhelpful conditions and yet had a better record. Lillee excelled in AUS and ENG but was scared to tour India and Pak because he did not want to 'spoil' his figures. Add to that Imran was a far superior fielder ; you needed to hide Lillee on the field! The better batting and captaincy factor makes it almost a no-contest.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on November 1, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    As bowlers, Hadlee, Marshall, Garner, Lillee, Roberts, McGrath, Ambrose, Donald are all better than this overrated Imran Khan.

  • on November 1, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    lille was so disappointed not to have picked a single wicket while playing test in pakistan and blamed wicket for it' well then why picking him in world eleven? 4 test nations play on similar wickets on which he didn't even get a single wicket. And Imran was a master of reverse swing that will cause you problems everywhere.