Imran Khan – 1992 to 2013

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Suave, erudite and extremely talented, Imran Khan is indisputably the greatest cricketer to emerge from Pakistan and arguably the greatest sporting icon that the country has ever known. Few would dispute the assessment that he is one of Pakistan’s most recognizable faces home and abroad, especially so after his decision to dive into the labyrinth of Pakistani politics shortly after his 1992 Cricket World Cup feat. Even today, vague flashbacks of Imran Khan’s captaincy in that tournament and his match winning spells on the hallow turfs of England stirs emotions amongst Pakistanis and cricket fans around the world. This fact has made him a youth icon, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t cut it with the seniors too. Belief in his sincerity, oration and his party’s vows and promises have appealed to vast segments of society in a country which is baying for respite and looking up to a hero for respite.

11The constant reiteration of his achievements in the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia where his rallying cry to fight like cornered tigers, rebounded off the walls of the Pakistani dressing room and went straight into cricketing folklore, is quoted by his supporters as living proof that he can also become a prudent politician and an excellent statesman. While his ability to reignite a team which lacked the self-belief to go for that silverware was a commendable effort, believing that Imran Khan could replicate his dexterity in the political playing field, has stoked curiosity from supporters and critics alike. Much of the Imran Khan story does center on his status as a cricket star rather than a prudent politician, which explains why he is so popular.

An ardent fan of his, Sana Aslam, an M.Phil. student, considers him a national icon:

‘He might be an idealist when it comes to his country, but that is exactly what is needed in current times. For me, he is undoubtedly a national icon, regardless of whether he wins or loses’.

Aslam’s comments reflect the sentiment of much of the youth in the country, where frustration with the status quo has prompted them to eulogize individuals who have excelled in their respective fields, even if that is cricket. This fact lays sustenance to the claim that according to PEW, seven out of ten Pakistanis citizens offer a favorable opinion about Khan and he enjoys incomparable popularity. Yet a lot of his popularity centers around his cricketing success, which is why many also believe that he needs time to deliver as a politician

‘He still needs five more years to rise and shine the way we want him to shine……….’ Claims Waseem Janjua, a former expatriate who is also a student of Peace and Conflict Studies at the National Defense University.

Untitled-1None of the superlatives attached with him however, are negative. There is widespread acknowledgement even amongst the poor and the deprived sections of Pakistan’s society, that what he managed to achieve on the field was truly special. Yet in a land where clientele politics dominate and vote banks are secured in line with familial affiliations, it is hard to imagine that Imran Khan is as conspicuous as a politician as much as he was as a cricketer. Khalil Khan, a truck driver who hails from Mardan, explains how Imran Khan is lauded and praised in KhyberPakhtunkhwa, but believes in casting his vote to a party that his family had historically voted for.

‘My family considers him to be the greatest asset that this country has had. I used to watch him during my childhood, and saw him decimate the figures of bowlers and blow stumps out of the ground. I will however, cast my vote in favor of the Awami National Party, given that my family has historically voted for them and we don’t believe in breaking this tradition.’

The latter part of Khan’s views, underlines the point that despite his massive popularity, Imran Khan appeals to the public more because of his sporting legacy than his political clout. He is widely followed and emulated because he made headlines for breaking numerous records and captaining the team with pugnacity.

Most segments of Pakistani society, be it the affluent or the impoverished, seem to agree that the positive aspects of his personality which had a bearing on his cricket will translate well into politics as well. The declaration of his assets, his honesty, and his visionary leadership are considered to be commendable qualities that are tied in with his absolute honesty on the field, especially considering the scandals the Pakistan team has run into ever since Imran’s departure. Former Pakistani Test opener and cricketer commentator, Ramiz Raja, who took that iconic catch to win the World Cup for Pakistan, has said:

‘He is indefatigable, dead honest and lucky.’

Similarly, for Naveed Munir, a middle class dweller in Sabzazar, Lahore, Imran Khan’s honesty and the fact that he is not as controversial as some of his other political heavyweights, makes him a champion of ‘change’ for him and his first preference when he casts his vote on the 11th of May.

‘ I see Altaf addressing his masses from England, I see the Sharifs making false promises, I see the People’s Party robbing this nation, and then I see Imran Khan’s humility and honesty it makes me believe that he can bring about genuine change in this country.’

In a cricket-crazy nation, the advantage that Imran has had of living his professional life in the public eye is the fuel that might propel him to victory him as he steps out these elections to contest a match that is being viewed with as much anticipation as the 1992 world cup. Will memories of the nation’s collective consciousness swelling with pride on that fateful day provide some subliminal help in swaying the vote in Khan’s favour?

Comments
7 Responses to “Imran Khan – 1992 to 2013”
  1. Anam says:

    Pakistan is in URGENT Need of this MAN.
    Khan the Super Hero, The Saviour. <3

  2. Verdah says:

    Nicely compiled , Hamzah!. Thanks for the insight that i did not know before. 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    Id vote for him for want of a better option and hoping for the best!

  4. Sania says:

    Political Loyalties aside, no True Pakistani can deny or even ignore for a moment the immense Pride this man… “The Living Legend” has brought to our beloved homeland be it in the field of cricket or the political arena…
    Hats off to u Hamzah for somehow managing to express in words what we can only feel in our hearts for this man..!! An article that was truly breathtaking..

    Keep up the Good Work 🙂

  5. Writer says:

    Plagiarism:

    “Few would dispute that Imran was the finest cricketer Pakistan has produced, or the biggest heartthrob. Suave, erudite and monstrously talented, he gave cricket in the subcontinent real sex appeal in the 1970s and 1980s. ”
    Source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/40560.html

    Hamzah wrote:
    “Suave, erudite and extremely talented, Imran Khan is indisputably the greatest cricketer to emerge from Pakistan and arguably the greatest sporting icon that the country has ever known.”

  6. Hamzah says:

    @ Mr. Writer, apparently the plagiarism that you are referring to is misguided. The fact that I wrote ‘Suave, Erudite and extremely talented ‘ as my intro- line, does not prove your point here. I had anything BUT referred to the link that you just posted and just noticed it right now 🙂

  7. i think so that the period of Imran Khan is golden period for the pakistani cricket. many of cricketer come after Imran Khan But non compeat that person

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