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Cricket greats Dilip Vengsarkar, Gundappa Vishwanath heap praise on Imran Khan

Vengsarkar, Vishwanath remeber Pakistan’s favourite cricketer.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2018 00:03 IST
Imran Khan,Pakistan election 2018,Dilip Vengsarkar
Imran Khan (left) with Dilip Vengsarkar (right) (Alamy Stock Photo)

Former Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar has expressed happiness over his cricketing rival Imran Khan’s success in the Pakistani elections. “Politics is a different innings altogether. We do not know how Imran will be as a politician,’’ he said. He recalled their cricketing days and remembered Khan as an honest, sincere, and straightforward human being. “I hope he remains the same as he was as a cricketer,” said Vengsarkar, who played with Khan for the Rest of World against Marylebone Cricket Club at the Lord’s cricket ground in 1987.

Vengsarkar said he first met Khan when he came to Hyderabad for test cricketer M L Jaisimha’s benefit match in 1977. “After that we toured Pakistan and they played in India almost every other year until 1987. We played a lot in Sharjah as well,” recalled Vengsarkar.

The former India captain said Khan’s conviction stood out. “He had tremendous confidence in his ability and was honest. It came to the fore in 1989, when West Indies, under the captaincy of Viv Richards, toured Pakistan. No touring team was happy with umpiring at that time and the worst was Pakistan. He wanted to beat the best team in the world but in a fair manner. And so he got neutral umpires from India, Piloo Reporter and VK Ramaswamy, to officiate.”

He said most captains would have made turning tracks, but he made good wickets and had neutral umpires. “What I admired about him was his overall thinking, maybe because of studying at the Oxford. He stood out from his teammates.”

Another Indian batting great Gundappa Vishwanath echoed Vengsarkar. “For someone from the sports background to come to this level is a tremendous achievement,” said Vishwanath, who saw the best of Khan in the 1982-83 series in Pakistan. “He was very charismatic, a great leader and very well respected by his men. The entire team looked up to him and we did not see him demand anything of his players but they supported him,’’ he said.

Khan’s impact went beyond just wickets and runs. He moulded the next generation too, handpicking players like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis and mentoring them into great bowlers. The two tweeted their support for Khan.

“A special speech from a Great Leader..Very simple, honest and practical… Feeling so proud to be a student of such a Mentor.. Congratulations Skipper,” tweeted Younis after Khan’s victory speech.

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 00:03 IST