Imran Khan – From Cricketing Legend to the Prime Minister of Pakistan

Imran Khan Journey from Legend Cricketer to the PM of Pakistan

Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf party chief Imran Khan is all set to become the 19th Prime Minister of Pakistan pitching himself as the first democratic Prime Minister in the last 71 years. From lifting the World Cup trophy to lifting the expectations of the entire nation, the stalwart has remained the beacon of hope for the country suffering from terrorist attacks and global financial crisis.

Imran Khan

What makes Imran Khan such a charismatic leader with a Midas touch? Is it the sex appeal complimented with damn good looks or a never say die attitude and fighting till the last minute, sending shivers down the opponent’s spine.

His flamboyance and stamina with zeal to make Pakistan the best in the world at any cost makes him the most chanted and admired leader across the world.

So who is Imran Khan and how this cricket legend became the most desired PM of Pakistan?

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Imran Khan Journey | The Making of a Legend

Imran Khan rare images

Imran Khan Niazi was born on October 5, 1952, in Lahore, into a rich Pashtun family to Ikramullah Khan Niazi and Shaukat Khanam.

He was a shy and reserved boy during teenage. Being from an influential family, he received a privileged education, earning him the title of the boy with a silver spoon, but he never took his status quo for granted.

He wasn’t a prodigy and had to really prove his mettle to cement the permanent place in the national team. He made a test cricket debut in 1971 at Edgbaston scoring only 5 and gone wicketless.

His career looked gloomy, until one day he saw Dennis Lillie on television bowling at really scary and tearaway pace. A great deal of sheer skill with mental toughness made Imran Khan his ardent fan and inspired him to become the lethal fast bowler.

After graduating from Oxford and playing county cricket at Worcestershire for five years (1971-76) he returned to Pakistan team with a bang.

His initial tests were against the Cricket juggernauts Australia and New Zealand. He took 14 wickets in three tests against New Zealand followed by Australia tour, where he completely demolished the home team with a pair of six-wicket hauls earning first ten-wicket haul.

The demolition man didn’t stop here and picked 25 wickets in 5 tests against the world champions West Indies making him an overnight superstar. The exceptional performances in the late ’70s gave the glimpse, what was to come in the next decades.

Imran Khan Journey in World Cricket Series

Many cricket enthusiasts think that IPL has revolutionized the Cricket. It was Kerry Packer money spinner World Cricket series that introduced color clothing and floodlights adding spicy glamour to the sport.

Imran Khan was one of the international players to sign the contract. The major reasons were poor salaries, unprofessionalism, lack of resources, poor fitness level of the players and ground standard. Imran’s vision was to give a new lease and fresh appeal to the game.

This is the first instance when Imran Khan displayed his exceptional leadership skills to the cricketing world. After the Kerry Packer series, everything changed in Pakistan and world cricket. Players started taking cricket seriously, solely concentrated on the game rather than looking for sideways income sources.

It was the fear of Imran Khan lethal pace, which introduced helmets as many players faced brutal injuries during the match.

The transformation from Bowling Genius to Greatest All Rounder

Imran Khan Batting

This was the most prolific period for Imran Khan with bat and ball, the cricketing world called it the golden age of Cricket. He averaged almost 40 with the bat and 19 with the ball sealing his domination over world cricket. He was at his peak, especially the period between 1981-83, where he took 104 wickets at an average of 14.87 with eight five-wicket hauls and even averaged 48 with the bat.

Apart from Ian Botham, he is the only international player to score a century and take ten wickets in the same match. During this period he was the best all-rounder and was easily among the top five players across the world. He became the metaphor for fear, tumbling wickets and leadership.

The Rise of Kaptan Khan

In 1982, Imran Khan took over the captaincy from Javed Miandad and brought the team out of the clutter and made it talk of the town as if the old wrinkled face got his due plastic surgery done.

As a captain, he played 48 test matches, out of which 8 were lost, 14 were won and 26 were drawn.  During this period, he captained 139 ODI’s, out of which 77 were won, 57 were lost and one was a tie. He led from the front and sealed victories, not in home conditions, but overseas. Pakistan was no more a minnow or home bully.

Kaptaan Khan

His nail-biting cobra Yorkers combined with strategic mind earned him substantial success against top teams. He defeated the English at their home soil, recorded credible draws against West Indies, demolished India, took Pakistan team to 1987 World Cup semi-finals and finally led Pakistan to the victory in 1992 Cricket World Cup giving a perfect end to this illustrious career.

Imran Khan Journey – The Talent Spotter

World cricket owes a lot to ferocious Imran Khan. He picked the young talent based on flare talent displayed on the nets or match, irrespective of completely relying on mouth publicity and statistics.

He gave weight age to team interest and inspired the team to cultivate the habit of winning against all odds. He gave world Wasim Akram “ The Sultan of reverse swing”, Waqar Younis “The Batsman hunter” and Inzamam Ul Haq “The sleeping assassin” making the game eye soothing and captivating for the years to come. In technical language, I would call him the antivirus detecting the spotting the talent viruses.

Second Innings- From Legend to a newborn Politician

PM Pakistan

Imran Khan could have easily become a renowned commentator or administrator, but he chose to be a philanthropist and politician aiming to make Pakistan the replica of paradise. He founded Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaaf in 1996 and filed his paper as a candidate from two constituencies NA-53, Mianwali, and NA-94, Lahore and lost both of them.

Failures did not impact his demigod popularity after Parvej Musharraf knocked out Nawaj Shareef, the dictator was in dilemma choosing the right candidate. He even offered the post of Prime Minister to Imran Khan, but he politely refused.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”

Romance with Number 22

It seems 22 is the lucky number for Imran Khan. From being a champion between 22 yards to be the Prime minister of Pakistan, accidentally after 22 years, the man has no stopping.

After doing a bit of research, what is evident is his never-ending romance with the number 22. So here are a few interesting statistics:-

  • It took 22 years for Imran Khan to win the Cricket World Cup in 1992.
  • His 22 years journey began between 22 yards.
  • 22 years of loggerhead tussle and finally winning the elections.
  • Incidentally, Imran Khan needs 22 seats to form the government.

It is a new arena for Imran Khan with new challenges. Life is playing games for Imran Khan, every time you win, the better opponent is always waiting around the corner. Imran Khan has to deal with economic challenges faced by the country, upgrade tax collection rates and making policies of backward and suppressed people.

Pakistan needs a hero and Imran Khan, as usual, rose to the occasion. We wish him all the best for future endeavors.

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