Imran Khan, the jewel in the crown of Pakistan cricket
Imran Khan, who is one of the prime contenders to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, was a legendary cricketer who guided his team to World Cup victory in 1992.cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2018 19:04 IST
Imran Khan is arguably the most talented cricketer Pakistan has ever produced. He is by far Pakistan’s most successful captain in one-day internationals with 75 victories under his belt, and stands second behind Misbah-ul-Haq in terms of victories in Test cricket. It was under his leadership that Pakistan became world champions in 1992, at a time when no one expected the country to do well at a global tournament.
While he attempts another victory, this time away from the cricket field, Hindustan Times takes a look at his top five achievements as a cricketer:
1) Captaining Pakistan to 1992 World Cup win
Imran Khan had announced his retirement from international cricket at the end of the 1987 World Cup, where Pakistan had lost to eventual champions Australia in the semi-final at home. But the all-rounder made a comeback and took over the reins of the team in 1988. At the beginning of the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, no one had given Pakistan a chance to move beyond the round-robin phase. But a 39-year Imran Khan had other ideas. Despite a slow start to the tournament, Pakistan eventually made it to the semi-finals by finishing fourth in the round-robin phase. The captain saved his best for the last as he top-scored for Pakistan with a knock of 72 in the final against England, eventually leading his team to their maiden World Cup triumph.
2) First Pakistani bowler to pick 300 Test wickets
Imran Khan used to strike fear in the hearts of batsmen with pace and swing. His ability to pick wickets even on placid and barren tracks in the sub-continent made him one of the finest quicks of his time. Imran Khan became the first Pakistani bowler to pick up 300 Test wickets, when he reached the milestone against England in Leeds in the year 1987. He took 68 Tests to reach the landmark and remains the second fastest from his country, behind Waqar Younis, to complete the feat. He ended his career with 362 Test wickets at an average of 22.81.
3) 300 wickets and 3000 runs
Imran Khan’s excellence as a cricketer can be measured from his record as an all-rounder in cricket’s longest format. For long known mostly as a bowler, Imran could walk into any team of his time just on the basis of his batting skills as well. He finished his career with 3807 runs from 88 Tests with a commendable average of 37.69. He is in fact one of only eight cricketers to have achieved the double of 3000 runs and 300 wickets in Test cricket. He reached the milestone in 75 Tests, which is the second fastest behind Ian Botham’s record of 72 matches
4) Captaining Pakistan to their only Test series win in India
Arch rivals India and Pakistan give it their best on a cricket field when playing against each other. But Pakistan never managed to win a Test series in India till in 1987 when Imran Khan led his team to a 1-0 victory. The win came in the final Test of the five-match series in Bangalore as Imran’s men edged India out by 16 runs in a cliffhanger. The match was Sunil Gavaskar’s last Test and he won the man of the match award in a lost cause. But it was his long standing adversary Imran, who had the last laugh.
5) Conquering the unvanquished Caribbeans
The great West Indian team were unbeatable in the 1980s while playing at home and they remained unconquered on home soil for 10 years, between April 1978 and April 1988. In those 10 years, the Caribbeans had played 25 Tests at home, winning 15 and drawing 10. Imran Khan stepped out of retirement in 1988 and led Pakistan to victory over the Windies in the first Test of the three-match series in Georgetown, Guyana. Imran picked up 11 wickets in the match to guide his team to a 9-wicket win, also winning the man of the match award. Although Pakistan lost the decider, but they managed to draw a series in the islands for the first time.
First Published: Jul 26, 2018 19:02 IST