Imran Khan is a 67-year-old former Pakistan all-rounder who batted right-handed and bowled right-arm fast. He earned a great reputation for being one of the best all-rounders. He skippered Pakistan in the eighties and led them to their maiden ODI World Cup title in 1992.
Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Lahore Whites, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan A, Punjab Pakistan, Peshawar, Peshawar Panthers, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Fighters, Pakistan Cricket Board Patrons XI, Pakistanis
Born to wealthy Pashtun parents settled in Lahore, Pakistan, he grew up in a cricketing family with his cousin Javed Burki and uncle Majid Khan playing for Pakistan. Majid Khan was Pakistan’s skipper when Imran played his debut match in 1971 and played under Imran on India’s tour of Pakistan in 1978.
Imran Khan played 88 Test matches and scored 3807 runs at 37.69 with 6 tons and 18 fifties, including his top score of 136. He also took 362 wickets at 22.81 with the best bowling figures of 8/58. He played his first Test against England in Birmingham in 1971. He went wicketless in that game while scoring 5 runs in a drawn match. Though he continued his Test career after a hiatus of three years, it was only on Pakistan’s tour of Australia that Imran impressed the audience. Having changed his action to increase his bowling speed and with the ability to swing the ball into batsmen, he took 6 wickets in each innings in Sydney to guide Pakistan to an 8-wicket win. In that match, Australia batted first and scored 211. Imran returned figures of 6/102, responsible for the wickets of Rick McCosker, Greg Chappell, Doug Walters, Gary Cosier, Rodney Marsh and Kerry O’Keeffe. Pakistan scored 360 and took a handy first innings lead of 149 thanks to innings of 120 by Asif Iqbal and 64 by Javed Miandad. In their second innings, Australian batsmen were once again subjected to rough treatment by Imran who took 6/63, including the wickets of opener IC Davis, McCosker, Walters, Gary Gilmour, O’Keeffe and Dennis Lillee. Needing 32 to win, Pakistan scored the necessary runs in 7.2 overs with 8 wickets in hand. After a five-match series in the West Indies in which he had another fifer in the fifth Test held in Kingston where he took 6/90 to help bowl out the West Indies for 280 in the first innings, Imran could not prevent the hosts from winning the game by 140 runs. After a couple of years lost due to his involvement with Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, Imran was back in action against India on their visit to Pakistan in the 1978 – 1979 season. He registered match-winning figures of 4/54 and 3/110 in Lahore and 3/75 and 3/76 in Karachi to help Pakistan to a 2-0 defeat of the guests. In his long and glorious career, he took 23 fifers and established himself as one of the leading fast bowlers of his time. Imran achieved his best bowling figures of 8/58 against Sri Lanka in the third Test of a series on Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan in March 1982. Batting first in the match, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 240 thanks to Imran Khan’s brilliant haul of wickets which included those of openers Warnapura and Wettimuny, Jayasekara, Dias, Madugalle, DS de Silva, Goonatilake and Wijesuriya. After Pakistan had scored 500/7 declared in which Imran’s own contribution was 39, Sri Lanka collapsed to become 158 all out in the second innings, with Imran taking 6/58 to return match figures of 14/116. He was also a fine batsman and played one of his best innings against India in Faisalabad in January 1983 during India’s tour of Pakistan that year. After bowling out India for 372, Pakistan made 652, riding on Imran’s innings of 117 and his partnership of 207 with Zaheer Abbas. Imran last appeared in a Test played against Sri Lanka in Faisalabad, scoring 22 and 0 in a match that Pakistan won by 3 wickets. He did not bowl at all in the game.
Imran played 175 ODIs and scored 3709 runs at 33.41 with one ton and 19 fifties, including his top score of 102 not out. He also took 182 wickets at 26.61 with his best bowling figures of 6/14. He played his first ODI against England in Nottingham in 1974, a match in which he did not take a single wicket while conceding 36 runs but also the one that Pakistan won by 7 wickets. He produced his best bowling performance against India in Sharjah on 22 March 1985. Batting first, India were bowled out for 125 thanks to Imran’s brilliant figures of 6/14, in which he took the wickets of Shastri, Srikkanth, Vengsarkar, Gavaskar, Amarnath and Madan Lal. Sadly for Imran, his performance went in vain, as Pakistan collapsed to be 87 all out. Imran scored his only ODI ton against Sri Lanka in Leeds on 16 June 1983 in a league match during the ODI World Cup. Batting first, Pakistan scored 235/7, riding on skipper Imran Khan’s unbeaten 102. During his innings, Imran helped rescue Pakistan from a precarious 43/5 with a 144-run stand for the sixth wicket with Shahid Mahboob. In reply, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 224. Imran last appeared in an ODI against England in the final of the ICC World Cup held in Melbourne on 25 March 1992. He captained the side to a famous win in that game. Batting first, Pakistan scored 249/6 before bowling out England for 227 runs to win their maiden World Cup title. Injured, Imran did not bowl in the game. But batting at number 3, Imran scored 72 off 110, playing an anchor role to take his side to a winning total.
Imran Khan was one of the four brilliant all-rounders of his time, the others being Ian Botham from England, Kapil Dev from India and Richard Hadley from New Zealand. However, what set him apart from the others was his captaincy skills. He led a ragtag bunch of players and moulded them into world champions. Unlike India, Pakistan did not have an organised domestic cricket structure. Very often, players graduated from street cricket to international cricket, without much first-class experience. Many star players from Pakistan owed their international careers to talent scouting and recognition of raw talent rather than gradual promotion through consistent performances in first-class cricket. For instance, Javed Miandad broke onto the international cricket scene as a teenager and became the youngest to score a double century in Tests when he achieved the feat in 1976 against New Zealand. Players such as Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq were initiated into international cricket at Imran’s request. As a captain, Imran demanded utmost discipline from an otherwise undisciplined bunch. He owed much of his success as the team’s captain to the free hand given him by the Pakistan cricket authority. He earned the respect of both players and management alike. In the eighties, no team had been considered strong until it won a match against the West indies on West Indian soil. In 1988, Imran was able to breach that last frontier. In players such as Javed Miandad and Abdul Qadir, Imran had able assistance from match-winning stars and he owed much credit to those players. In the months preceding the 1992 World Cup, Imran Khan received a personal call from President Zia ul Haq, requesting the retired player to return to the cricket field for one last time to skipper the side to the World Cup in Australia. Imran agreed and the rest was history.
- On two separate occasions, Imran scored a fifty and took five wickets in an innings in the same Test match.
- Against India in 1983, he made a Test ton and took 11 wickets in the match, becoming only the second player after Ian Botham to achieve the feat.
- In the period between 1982 and 1983, Imran took five wickets in a Test innings four consecutive times, equalling the record that had been achieved by only nine other players at the time.
- When he took 8 wickets against India in Karachi in 1982, Imran set a record for the most wickets by a captain in Test cricket.
- In 1982, Imran achieved 50 wickets in a calendar year in only 9 matches, a record equalled or bettered by only five players at the time.
- When he gave up playing Test cricket, Imran had 362 wickets, making him, at the time, the only Pakistan bowler and one of only four players internationally to achieve the feat.
- He set a record for the second-highest average of 61.86 for a batsman playing at number six in the batting order.
- He set a record for the best ODI bowling figures in a losing cause when took 6/14 against India in Sharjah in 1985.
- He became the second-fastest player after Ian Botham to achieve 3000 runs and 300 wickets in Test cricket.
- He pioneered reverse swing and passed on his tricks of the trade to Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
Imran Khan played his last Test match in January 1992 and announced his permanent retirement from cricket six months after Pakistan won the 1992 ODI World Cup on his watch.