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From cricketer to Pakistan leader: Imran Khan's journey to glory by Sharjah



Dubai: Imran Khan, the first international cricket player to become prime minister, has sharpened his skills as a leader from the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. I was fortunate enough to announce his games in Sharjah in the 1980s and 1990s, and I have also addressed him several times, even as a politician, during his visits to Dubai as well as during his time in Pakistan. And every time I was amazed at his leadership qualities.

The Sharjah Stadium dressing room, during the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series, used to be next to the press counter, allowing it to keep a close eye on its charismatic leadership, more than what fans could see on their TV screens. Everyone would have liked the aura he had as a cricketer, so it's no surprise that many adored him. During my first interview with pacemakers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, both had noticed that they worshiped Imran as their hero. But Imran was no hero just for these two; He inspired a generation of great all-rounders, especially pacemakers.

File Picture: Then the Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan in action. Archive Javed Nawab / Gulf News

The positive sentiment he shared in the team as he walked out into the field was remarkable. He made everyone believe that they were marching to defeat their opponents, and he also led by his performance with bat and ball. This is the same faith he has generated among the masses and made them believe he is the one Can overcome problems in Pakistan.

Imran hates being crushed because he believes he should be a winner. At Cricket, every team that has tried to pull him down has felt the brunt of his killer instinct. It must be the same killer instinct that gave him the patience to stay hard for 22 years to secure his party's victory.

File Picture: Pakistani cricketer Emran Khan then flirts during the Rothmans Challenge Cricket tournament at Sharjah Stadium. Archive Javed Nawab / Gulf News

In his first one-day international at the Sharjah Stadium on March 22, 1985 in the Rothmans Four Nation Cup against India, his 6-year run for 14 runs of his ten overs was one of Pace Bowling's best adverts. His ability to move the ball and uproot the stumps was a feast for the eyes. Imran was also an embodiment of how to behave as a cricketer. The way he walked and ran to bowl, and that smooth bowling action made Cricket look graceful.

Imran was also an all-rounder from the field. After his cricketing days he could have become anything – a cricket commentator or even a Hollywood actor! His charming appearance made women rave about him. He did not compete for a top post on the Pakistani Cricket Board, but had his eyes far ahead. It is likely that he will overtake Pakistan Cricket as he has much to thank for the game, which played a major role in guiding the country. From the captain of the Pakistani cricket team, people now see Imran as the captain of their nation.

File Picture: Then read Pakistan team Captain Imran Khan's Gulf News newspaper during their game in Sharjah. Archive Javed Nawab / Gulf News

When he led Pakistan to world championship triumph in 1992, he lifted his country's profile. Now he will look forward to raising his country's profile as prime minister. The leadership of a 15-member team is vastly different from the leadership of an entire nation, and Imran knows the challenge is humane.

In one of his interviews, he once remarked, "Trade off your dream, but never compromise on your dream." Now he has had a dream to succeed.


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