Saturday, 8 September 2012

Imran Khan: A journey from being a Cricket Legend to a Political Hero

Imran Khan Cricketer to Politician
HE is mobbed wherever he goes. People want to touch him, school children happily line up to give him their pocket money, women throw their jewellery at him, small traders and businessmen have raised billions of rupees for his cause. His rallies get bigger and more inspiring day the day. Stimulating slogans proclaim him as the next prime minister of Pakistan. He is Imran Khan, a former captain of Pakistan's cricket team, who shot to glory after Pakistan won cricket's World Cup in 1992.

Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi was born in a traditional landed family of Pakistan. His father Ikram Ullah khan Niazi Shermankhel was a civil engineer in Lahore. A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Khan grew up in a middle-class Niazi Pathan family with four sisters. Imran's Mother Shaukat Khanam family includes successful hockey players and cricketers such as Javed Burki and Majid Khan. Imran Khan was educated locally, at Aitchison College, before coming to England to study at Worcester Grammar School and Keble College, Oxford, where he excelled at cricket. In 1972, he enrolled to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Keble College, Oxford, where he graduated with a second-class degree in Politics and a third in Economics.

On 16 May 1995, Imran Khan married to an English socialite Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of the multimillionaire businessman Sir James Goldsmith. Who converted to Islam in a two-minute Islamic ceremony in Paris. Both had two sons Sulaiman Isa (born 18 November 1996) and Kasim (born 10 April 1999). On June 22nd 2004, shocking news went on air regarding Imran Khan that he has divorced his wife and the reason told was that it was "difficult for Jemima to adapt to life in Pakistan".

Imran Khan started his first class career at the age of 16 from his home city, Lahore. By the start of the 1970s, he played from various teams of Lahore city like Lahore A, Lahore B, Lahore greens and eventually Lahore. In 1971, Khan made his Test cricket debut against England at Birmingham and three years later he made his one day international debut once again playing against England at Nottingham for the Prudential Trophy. His identification as one of the fastest bowlers of the world established when he finished third at 139.7 km/h in a fast bowling contest at Perth in 1978 behind Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding. Imran Khan achieved his first landmark i.e. the all-rounder's triple (securing 3000 runs and 300 wickets) in only 75 Tests of his career, the second fastest record behind Ian Botham's 72.

Imran Khan was named the captain of Pakistan cricket team in 1982 when he was at his peak of his career. As a captain, Khan played 48 Test matches, out of which 14 were won by Pakistan, 8 lost and the rest of 26 were drawn. He also played 139 ODIs, winning 77, losing 57 and ending one in a tie. In 1987, Khan led Pakistan to its first Test series win in India, which was followed by Pakistan's first series victory in England the same year. After losing in the semi final of the 1987 cricket world cup under his captaincy, he decided to retire from the International cricket. But later in 1988, he was asked to return to team as a captain by the president General Zia-ul-Haq. So on 18 January, he announced his decision to rejoin the team. Soon after returning, he led to a memorable series win against West Indies and he was also named as man of the series for his magnificent bowling performance throughout the series. “I wanted to be an outstanding player, that was my ambition.”

Then came the turning point of Imran’s life and it was the ICC cricket world cup 1992 which was hosted by one of the pioneers of cricket, Australia. Pakistan team left for England under the captaincy of Imran Khan with full hopes and courage and with full support from millions of people in Pakistan. Playing with a brittle batting lineup, Khan promoted himself as a batsman to play in the top order along with Javed Miandad, but his contribution as a bowler was not too good, still he had best bowlers in his team like Wasim Akram. At the age of 39, Khan scored the highest runs of all the Pakistani batsmen and took the winning last wicket himself. Pakistan was bowled out for under 80 runs in a match against England in a league match and hardly managed to move to the next round of the world cup. But now luck was on the Pakistan side and green shirts kept on winning the match one after the other defeating all the top teams including the former world champions Australia as well and reached to the final of the world cup. On 25th May 1992 in final at Melbourne, Pakistan again faced England to overcome the mistakes of the league match and to grab the world title. Due to the great batting performance from the captain himself, Javed Miandad and Inzamam ul Haq, Pakistan was able to give a tough total to England. The magic of Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmad worked and Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs to be a world champion.

In his final speech on the presentation ceremony in the world cup, Imran khan said that it will help a lot in fulfilling his wish to build a cancer hospital. Recalling his initial discomfort with this new role, he later said, "When I became the cricket captain, I couldn’t speak to the team directly I was so shy. I had to tell the manager, I said listen can you talk to them, this is what I want to convey to the team. I mean early team meetings I use to be so shy and embarrassed I couldn’t talk to the team." He ended his career with 88 Test matches, 126 innings and scored 3807 runs at an average of 37.69, including six centuries and 18 fifties. His highest score was 136 runs. As a bowler, he took 362 wickets in Test cricket, which made him the first Pakistani and world's fourth bowler to do so. In ODIs, he played 175 matches and scored 3709 runs at an average of 33.41. His highest score remains 102 not out. His best ODI bowling is documented at 6 wickets for 14 runs. “During my 21 years of playing cricket, I have never been approached by anyone or offered a bribe.”

Imran Khan started his social work even before the retirement from cricket, when in 1991 he founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, a charity organization bearing the name of his mother. Imran Khan established Pakistan's first and only cancer hospital, constructed using donations and funds exceeding $25 million, rose by Khan himself from all over the world. He is now the chairman of this hospital and still raises funds for his hospital and giving the best services to people from all the social classes in Pakistan. On 27 April 2008, a technical college in the Mianwali District called Namal College, was inaugurated. Namal College was built by the Mianwali Development Trust (MDT), as chaired by Khan, and was made an associate college of the University of Bradford (of which Khan is Chancellor) in December 2005.

Just after few years of retitrment, Imran’s patriotism and his love for nation took him into the field of politics. On 25 April 1996, Khan founded his own political party known as Movement for Justice in Pakistan (Urdu: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf) with an anticipated slogan of "Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem”. Imran Khan said “I don't need to use politics as a way of making money.” In 1999 Imran Khan supported General Pervez Musharraf's military takeover but later in 2002 condemned his presidency. He became a Member of Parliament for Mianwali in the October 2002 elections. He was part of the Standing Committees on Kashmir and Public Accounts, and expressed legislative interest in Foreign Affairs, Education and Justice. His party boycotted the national elections on 18 February 2008 and hence, no member of PTI has served in Parliament since Khan's resignation in 2007. “One is actually the democracy here, you know, people are, people assume that this election means that there is democracy in Pakistan. There is no democracy.”

Khan has credited his decision to enter politics with a spiritual awakening, influenced by his conversations with a mystic from the Sufi wing of Islam that began in the last years of his cricket career. Khan told Britain's Daily Telegraph, "I want Pakistan to be a welfare state and a genuine democracy with a rule of law and an independent judiciary." He also proposed an idea that all students after their graduation should spend atleast an year on the countryside to teach them. "We need decentralisation, empowering people at the grass roots."

The Guardian newspaper in England described Khan as a "miserable politician," observing that, "Khan's ideas and affiliations since entering politics in 1996 have swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rainshower... He preaches democracy one day but gives a vote to reactionary mullahs the next."

There are number of national and international rewards and recognitions Imran Khan was blessed with

Ø Khan is featured in the University of Oxford's Hall of Fame

Ø He has been an honorary fellow of Oxford's Keble College

Ø n 1976 as well as 1980, Khan was awarded The Cricket Society Wetherall Award for being the leading all-rounder in English first-class cricket

Ø He was also named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1983

Ø He had received the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 1983

Ø Sussex Cricket Society Player of the Year in 1985

Ø Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year in 1990.

Ø In 1992, Khan was given Pakistan's civil award, the Hilal-i-Imtiaz.

Ø On 8 July 2004, Khan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2004 Asian Jewel Awards in London for acting as a figurehead for many international charities and working passionately and extensively in fund-raising activities.

Ø On 7 December 2005, Khan was appointed the fifth Chancellor of the University of Bradford

Ø On 13 December 2007, Khan received the Humanitarian Award at the Asian Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur for his efforts in setting up the first cancer hospital in Pakistan

Ø In 2009, at International Cricket Council's centennial year celebration, Khan was one of fifty-five cricketers inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame.

Ø He is also Currently placed at Number 8 on the all-time list of the ESPN Legends of Cricket

Recently, Imran Khan has gained a lot of popularity and support from renowned anchors and columnists in Pakistan like Kashif Abbasi, Haroon ur Rasheed, etc. Imran Khan is a person, an honest politician, a true Pakistani who is now the most famous leader among the youth of Pakistan. He is the only recognized politician which is free from any external pressure including America which is even confessed by America and many other politicians from Pakistan as well.

Is Imran Khan the man, nation is waiting for, who is free from every pressure and can solve all the major issues and problems of Pakistan in every aspect? Only time can answer this question.


  1. He is definitely the man time knead Pakistan forward. A man with a liberal frame of mind who is rather concerned about the country rather than his wealth.

  2. Imran khan is the Man of word and honesty
    We Pakistani's can trust him as a next prime minister of Pakistan.
    He's the one who can Who can solve the problems of Pakistan and make it a welfare state.

  3. @ Sami Ullah Second your opinion! BTW, nice article

  4. Pakistan needs a leader like him.

  5. Great article. i am going to give my vote to Imran Khan. Zardari and Nawaz Sharif are spent forces. They are corrupt.

  6. Is Imran Khan the man, nation is waiting for, who is free from every pressure and can solve all the major issues and problems of Pakistan in every aspect? Only time can answer this question.

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