Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Cricket bowling legend Imran Khan
Inspirational leader, mentor, genuine all-rounder and talented cricketer describe a true Pakistan legend. Imran Khan was certainly one of the greatest Pakistan cricketers ever and one of the best all-rounders in the game of cricket. Such a legend was Imran Khan that he defined the term world-class all-rounder. That he was an inspirational captain who transformed Pakistan into a formidable Test team and World Cup Champions in 1992 augmented his value.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan on November 25th, 1952, Khan made his First class debut as a teenager in the 1969/1970 domestic season. His immense talent was immediately apparent, precipitating his selection to the Pakistan Test team in 1971- at the tender age of 19. Khan- an exponent of fast swing bowling and an accomplished batsman- became a fixture on the Pakistan team in a career that spanned two decades. In a Pakistan team that placed emphasis on youth, Khan's durability was a mark of his class.
Khan was the first true star of Pakistan cricket. He possessed qualities that made him a very marketable cricketer and raised the profile of the game in Pakistan. Many young Pakistanis looked up to Imran Khan as a role model- leading to more interest in fast bowling on a spin-dominated sub-continent. Khan was a pioneer for fast bowling in Pakistan- inspiring other pace bowlers like Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram.
Khan's statistics at the highest level indicated that he was not merely an exceptional all-rounder. As a batsman, he was well above average. However, he was also a genuine strike bowler with figures that are the envy of specialist bowlers. From 88 Tests, Khan garnered 3,807 runs at a fine average of 37.69. He scored six Test hundreds- more than some specialist batsmen do in their careers. If Imran's betting was good, his bowling was great. Khan plucked an amazing 362 Test scalps at a metronomic average of 22.81. His strike rate of 53.7 was the hallmark of a genuine front-line bowler.
In ODIs, Khan's figures were equally remarkable. From 175 matches, Khan took 182 wickets and was parsimonious with an economy rate of 3.89. His ODI batting average of 33.41 with a strike rate of 72 demonstrated his pivotal role in Pakistan's lower middle order.
Imran Khan spent a considerable amount of time on the English county circuit- more than he spent in Pakistan's domestic leagues. He played for teams like Worcestershire and Sussex of England and had a couple of seasons with Australian side New South Wales in the early 80s. Khan's First class career- spanning 22 years- was illustrious. He played 382 First class matches from 1970 to 1992, scored more than 17,000 runs and took 1287 wickets.
Khan's career ended in glory- the type of end that befitted a legend. He was captain on the side that defeated England by 22 runs to capture Pakistan's first World Cup title. Since his retirement from competitive cricket, he became a cricket administrator and politician. No scriptwriter could have scripted Imran Khan's story any better. He left as a legend and with the title of world champion. Indeed, Imran Khan was a champion in his own right- one of cricket's finest.
Darrell Victor is a freelance writer and cricket enthusiast from the West Indies. For articles on West Indies cricket, read: Reasons for the decline of West Indies cricket: http://www.helium.com/items/1264594-west-indies-cricket. A West Indian Perspective on Test cricket: http://www.helium.com/items/1258936-test-cricket
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