In the following article, you will come to know about Imran Khan’s cricketing life, political and educational background, his career in numbers and many other accolades that he achieved during his personal and professional career.
Imran Khan (born Nov 25, 1952 in Lahore, Punjab) is a former Pakistani Captain who was indisputably the greatest cricketer to emerge from Pakistan. He played 88 Test matches and 175 One Day International matches for Pakistan.
His major teams were Pakistan, Dawood Club, Lahore, New South Wales, Oxford University, Pakistan International Airlines, Sussex and Worcestershire.
Imran Khan is widely regarded as the greatest and most flamboyant cricketer that Pakistan has ever produced and arguably the world’s second best all-rounder to have graced the game after Sir Gary Sobers. He was tall, demure, handsome and charismatic who dazzled the world with his amazing talent. He will also be remembered for his bold and inspirational captaincy that brought Pakistan into the limelight in the eighties and culminated in their winning the World Cup in 1992.
Imran Khan along with Sarfaraz Nawaz, made it fashionable to reverse swing the cricket ball in the 1980s. He was a dominant figure in Pakistani cricket that he could pick and choose who to play in the national side. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, two of the finest fast bowlers seen in the late 80s and 1990s were handpicked by him and groomed to play the role of strike bowlers for Pakistan. He nursed the national side and literally pushed youngsters like Inzamam-ul-Haq and others towards fame and fortune.
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Nickname: Favorite Son of Pakistan, Lion of Pakistan
Height: 1.85 CM
College: Aitchison College, Lahore – Royal Grammar School Worcester, England – University of Oxford, England
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm fast
Ex-Wives : Jemima Goldsmith and Reham Khan
Kids: Sulaiman and Kasim
Cousins (Cricketers) : Javed Burki and Majid Khan
Toughest batsmen to bowl to: Sir Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar
Lowest moments in career: Shin injury and losing the World Cup Semi Final in 1987 against Australia
Highest moments in career: Victory against Eng in Eng in 1987, leveling the series against WI in WI in 1988, WC 1992 Victory
Greatest regret: Not to have any brother
Saddest day: When his mother passed away
Happiest day: Opening of his Hospital
On 16th May 1995, Imran married English socialite Jemima Goldsmith (the daughter of the late British billionaire Sir James Goldsmith), a convert to Islam, in an Islamic ceremony in Paris. A month later, on 21st June, they were married again in a civil ceremony at the Richmond register office in England, followed by a reception at the Goldsmiths’ house in Surrey.
The marriage, described as “tough” by Imran, produced two sons, Sulaiman Isa (born 18 November 1996) and Kasim (born 10 April 1999). As an agreement of his marriage, Imran spent four months a year in England.
“I sadly announce that Jemima and I are divorced,” said Imran in a statement released by his Justice Movement party. “While Jemima tried her best to settle here, my political life made it difficult for her to adapt to life in Pakistan. This was a mutual decision and is clearly very sad for both of us. My home and my future are in Pakistan.”
The marriage ended amicably. Imran has regular access to his children and his relationship with his ex-wife is friendly.
Later after 15 years, Imran Khan married television presenter Reham Khan at his residence in Bani Gali on January 8, 2015, in a simple, no frills ceremony.
After a 10-month long marriage, Imran Khan and his wife Reham Khan have decided to part ways.
The PTI chief confirmed his and Reham’s decision to file for divorce via twitter on 30th October 2015. “This is a painful time for me and Reham and our families. I would request everyone to respect our privacy.”
Awards and Accolades
The Cricket Society Wetherill Award for being the leading all-rounder in English first-class cricket: 1976 and 1980
Wisden Cricketer of the year: 1983
President’s Pride of Performance award: 1983
Sussex Cricket Society Player of the year: 1985
Indian Cricket Cricketer of the year: 1990
Victorious Captain of the Pakistan Team in World Cup: 1992
Pakistan’s most Prestigious award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz: 1992
Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Jewel Awards in London, for “acting as a figurehead for many International charities and working passionately and extensively in fund-raising activities: 2004
Appointed as the fifth Chancellor of the University of Bradford, where he is also a patron of the Born in Bradford research project: 2005
Humanitarian Award at the Asian Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur for his efforts in setting up the first cancer hospital in Pakistan: 2007
Was one of several veteran Asian cricketers presented special silver jubilee awards at the inaugural Asian cricket Council (ACC) award ceremony in Karachi: 2008
Placed at Number 8 on the all-time list of the ESPN Legends of Cricket.
11 Man of the Match awards in Tests.
8 Man of the Series awards in Tests.
13 Man of the Match awards in ODIs.
Included in ICC Hall of Fame: 2009
4 for 45, 4 for 35 and scored 39* v Australia, Lahore, 1982-83
3 for 19 and 8 for 60 v India, Karachi, 1982-82
6 for 98, 5 for 82 and scored 117 v India, Faisalabad, 1982-83
Scored 79* v New Zealand, Nottingham, 1983
3 for 37 and 7 for 40 v England, Leeds, 1987
7 for 80 and 4 for 41 v West Indies, Georgetown, 1987-88
4 for 37 v England, Karachi, 1987-88
2 for 42 and scored 67* v West Indies, Brisbane, 1988-89
Scored 60* v West Indies, Sharjah, 1989-90
3 for 13 v Australia, Mumbai, 1989-90
Scored 84* v Sri Lanka, Lucknow, 1989-90
3 for 47 and scored 55* v West Indies, Kolkata, 1989-90
2 for 30 and scored 56* v Australia, Sydney, 1989-90
Scored 44* v Sri Lanka, Karachi, 1991-92
Runs: 748 @ 35.61
Wickets: 28 @ 28.60
Runs: 377 @ 29
Wickets: 23 @ 23.26
Runs: 433 @ 21.65
Wickets: 35 @ 22.25
Against New Zealand
Runs: 279 @ 46.50
Wickets: 8 @ 36.50
Against Sri Lanka
Runs: 636 @ 45.42
Wickets: 29 @ 27.79
Against West Indies
Runs: 1202 @ 33.38
Wickets: 54 @ 28.87
Imran’s ODI Career
Till Dec 1980: He played 14 matches, scored 108 runs @ 15.82 and took 16 wickets @ 25.93
During Jan 1981 – Dec 1989 (At his Peak): He played 122 matches, scored 2651 runs @ 33.98 and took 142 wickets @ 22.96
Jan 1990 onwards: He played 39 matches, scored 950 runs @ 36.53 and took 24 wickets @ 48.66
Career: He played 175 matches, scored 3709 @ 33.41 and took 182 wickets @ 26.61
Runs: 862 @ 37.37
Wickets: 64 @ 24.96
Runs: 500 @ 35.71
Wickets: 47 @ 24.63
Runs: 1091 @ 51.95
Wickets: 94 @ 24.04
Against New Zealand
Runs: 308 @ 51.33
Wickets: 31 @ 28.19
Against Sri Lanka
Runs: 271 @ 30.11
Wickets: 46 @ 14.63
Against West Indies
Runs: 775 @ 27.67
Wickets: 80 @ 21.18
Imran’s Test Career
Till Dec 1979: He played 25 matches, scored 832 runs @ 22.48 and took 98 wickets @ 31.88
During Jan 1980 – Dec 1988 (At his Peak): He played 48 matches, scored 2028 runs @ 39.76 and took 236 wickets @ 17.77
Jan 1989 onwards: He played 15 matches, scored 947 runs @ 72.84 and took 28 wickets @ 33.53
Career: He played 88 matches, scored 3807 @ 37.69 and took 362 wickets @ 22.81
During his peak years in Test cricket, Imran was easily the best all-rounder among his peers. In the nine years between 1980 and 1988, his bowling average of 17.77 was almost 22 lesser than his batting average.
Top all-rounders between 1980 and 1988 (Qualification: 1500 runs, 100 wickets)
Batting Avg: 39.76
Bowling Avg: 17.77
Difference in Avg: 21.99
Batting Avg: 31.04
Bowling Avg: 19.03
Difference in Avg: 12.01
Batting Avg: 34.38
Bowling Avg: 31.83
Difference in Avg: 2.55
In fact, extending this analysis to all Test cricket, only Sobers had a higher difference between batting and bowling averages (among those with at least 3000 runs and 200 wickets, and two wickets per Test).
Best all-rounders in Tests (Qualification: 3000 runs and 200 wkts; at least two wickets per Test)
Batting Avg: 57.78
Bowling Avg: 34.03
Difference in Avg: 23.75
Batting Avg: 37.69
Bowling Avg: 22.81
Difference in Avg: 14.88
Batting Avg: 32.31
Bowling Avg: 23.11
Difference in Avg: 9.20
In his pomp, not only was Imran the best all-rounder, he was also the best bowler in the world. At a time when a connoisseur of fast bowling would have been spoilt for choice, for there were so many great ones going around, Imran was still the best of the lot with an average of 17.77 and a strike rate of less than 44 balls per wicket.
Top bowlers in the world between 1980 and 1988 (Qualification: 150 wickets)
What’s more surprising, though, is the sort of numbers Imran racked up as a batsman when his glory days as a bowler were over. He was technically sound and could play with the straightest of bats.
Highest batting averages between Jan 1, 1987 and Jan 6, 1992 (Qualification: 1500 runs)
One of the highlights of Imran’s career was his battles against the best team of his times, West Indies. As a batsman he wasn’t as effective against them, but as a bowler he was superb, taking 80 wickets at 21.18.
The three all-rounders against West Indies
Bat Avg: 27.67
Bowl Avg: 21.18
Bat Avg: 32.41
Bowl Avg: 22.03
Bat Avg: 30.82
Bowl Avg: 24.89
One of the stand-out aspects of Imran Khan was the manner in which he lifted his performances when he became captain. In the 48 Tests in which he led Pakistan he averaged 52.34 with the bat and 20.26 with the ball.
Best Test averages as captains (Qualification: 40 Tests)
Imran’s ODI numbers were pretty impressive too, though his bowling average of almost 27 didn’t do complete justice to his skills. He averaged only slightly more than one wicket per match, but that was also because of the stress fracture, which severely curtailed his bowling. When on song, even the best of batsmen found him difficult to handle.
Best bowling averages in World Cup games (Qualification: 1000 balls bowled)
Quotes on Imran Khan
He was the master of reverse swing and with the new ball. His Yorkers were lethal in ODI cricket. He was a totally committed cricketer. He hated, hated to lose against any side. He instilled the attitude of playing aggressively and fearlessly against any side in the world – Wasim Akram
Imran was an exciting character. He was influential and intelligent. At their best, I would pick Imran over Botham, Kapil and Hadlee. He didn’t only succeed as a cricketer but also in other aspects of his life – Tony Grieg
He developed the skill of moving the ball in the air. It was always fantastic to watch him. Terrific batsman and a great bowler – Keith Stackpole
He was a born leader. He was the most dangerous bowler – Sunil Gavaskar
What he was able to bring was very kind of flamboyant and allowing them to express their natural talent. Pak can never have a captain like him – Graham Thorpe
Imran gave a calmness and direction to Pakistan cricket team. One team that actually matched WI home and away in the 80s was Pakistan under the leadership of Imran – Allan border
In a test cricket, you are tested in intelligence, skill and in courage and Imran passed with flying colors in all three departments. Every time you played against him, he came with something new and different – Ian Chappell
Pakistan with Imran was a more professional unit – Clive Lloyd
I rate him as one of the finest all rounder cricket has ever seen. Tremendous leader – Dickie Bird
The 92 World Cup victory at Australia was the culmination and highlight of his captaincy. His ability to extract the best out of his players was terrific. Wasim’s performance in the final was an example. A great bowler who had the ability to swing the new ball but swung the old ball with much control – Greg Chappell
Imran was a fantastic cricketer. He would never ask people to go up there and do things he couldn’t. Because he knew he could it, others could do it as well. Fantastic athlete. Because he believed, he made Pakistan believe. He is the best captain I have ever seen – Michael Holding
He was a great fast bowler of the world – John snow
He was the only one who would always tell us in the team meeting that ‘we are going to win it’. He led simply outstandingly in that 92 WC. Amazing bowler with tremendous leadership skills – Ramiz Raja
He was Pakistan’s greatest captain without any doubt. His ability to motivate youngsters was amazing. When you see positive and aggressive attitude in Pakistani cricketers, you have got to thanks Imran khan – Ravi Shastri
When he was captain, there was never any question of anyone else being in charge. I consider him as the no.1 cricketer for Pakistan – Tony Grieg
Pakistan couldn’t have won the World Cup without him. He was the backbone of the side – Sambit Lal
Highly talented, very skillful with the ball and also very handful lower down the order with the bat. One of the greatest all-rounders of the game – Kepler Wessel
He had the presence that managed to make Pakistan team into world beaters and the greatest thing he ever achieved was unity in the team. Not many cricketers manage to become famous after cricket but Imran did manage that – Andrew Miller – UK editor
He had the most perfect technique for a batsman. He had one of the straightest bats in the game when he developed later on as a batsman. He was a backbone of Pakistan batting. A superb captain. A class bowler. If I ever reborn again, I would want to be Imran Khan – Sanjay Manjrekar
I rated Imran very highly. As a batsman, he could bat any sort of an innings. He was more consistent than the rest of us – Sir Richard Hadlee
When Imran retired; it seemed as if Pakistan would need four people to replace him. If you are to make the greatest all time XI, Imran has to be the captain of the team – Tim de Lisle – Editor Wisden
He was an exceptional bowler with genuine pace of around 87-90mph. Greatest Pakistan captain ever. A wonderful cricketer – Richie Benaud
Imran combined thoughtfulness with a natural ability which had always been outstanding. What brought about this transformation, as Imran readily admits, was his appointment to the captaincy of Pakistan. This sense of responsibility turned a fine cavalier into a great cricketer – Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
Imran in UK is known as Lion of Pakistan. He inspired players like nobody else did – Brian Murgatroyd – Former ACB media manager
He was one of the greatest fast bowlers I have ever faced – Sir Vivian Richards
I got to play Imran in my first series and he was a great inspiration. He was so disciplined and it’s a sign of great sportsman – Sachin Tendulkar
Imran was instrumental in leading that Pakistan side through difficult times earlier in the 92 World Cup to be the Champions of the world. He did that for 10 years as a captain but that wasn’t his only accomplishment. He was the greatest all rounder since Gary sobers. Intelligent, thoughtful and had great flair. Without doubt, my favorite player – Martin Crowe
Pakistan’s impeccable Test record between Oct 1985 to Dec 1989
The only time Pakistan were ranked No. 1 in the ICC Test team rankings was in 1988 when Imran Khan was Pakistan’s Captain.
Between October 1985 to December 1989, Pakistan played 10 Test series (5 at home [Pakistan] and 5 away [home of opposition]). Remarkably, Pakistan did not lose a single series during this period i.e. 4 years and 2 months.
On top of it, Pakistan only lost 3 Test matches during this period, against Sri Lanka once and twice vs West Indies. In the same time frame, Pakistan managed to win 9 Test matches against 5 different oppositions.
Not only this, Pakistan also managed to win Test series against England in England (1-0), against India in India (1-0) and drew the series 1-1 against the then mighty West Indies team in West Indies.
Imran as a batsman
Imran was a stylish hard hitting batsman with a sound orthodox technique who could defend or attack as the situation demanded. He started to bat lower down the order but ended up his as one of the great batsman of the era. He had one of the straightest bats in the game and was a destructive batsman who could pace up the innings as required.
What’s more surprising, though, is the sort of numbers Imran racked up as a batsman when his glory days as a bowler were over. He was technically sound and could play with the straightest of bats, and when he worked on his patience and temperament, the result was a batsman who could play long innings and adapt his game according to the needs of the hour. In the last five years of his career, Imran averaged 59.69 in 28 Tests, and four of his six Test 100s came during this period. Among those who scored at least 1500 runs during this period, only New Zealand’s Martin Crowe had a better average.
Imran was a terrific match winner: in matches that Pakistan won, he averaged almost 47, which was well above his overall batting average of 33.41. Among Pakistan’s batsmen who scored at least 2000 runs in ODI wins, only 5 have a higher average. Given that he was a man for the big occasions, it’s hardly surprising that his World Cup stats are better than his overall career numbers.
Imran as a bowler
As a bowler he had genuine pace and could move the old and new ball in the air at will. When he began, he couldn’t control big, booming in-swingers of modest pace. But when cricket was gripped by a prolonged vogue of bouncers from the mid-70s on, Imran unthinkingly jumped in. When the run-up and rhythm were right, he was sharp, and he targeted heads with commendable indiscrimination. His in-swingers and Yorkers were impeccable and a delight to watch.
In the 1980s, Imran was in his pomp, and he was easily among the top five players in the world during this period. He averaged almost less than 18 with the ball, numbers which indicate quite emphatically just how dominant he was. He was even more lethal in the 14 months between November 1981 and January 1983: in 16 Tests during this period he took 104 wickets at an incredible average of 14.87, with eight five-wicket hauls. India and Australia played six Tests each against Pakistan during this period, and both suffered extensively at the hands of Imran: he destroyed India’s much-vaunted batting line-up with 40 wickets at 13.95, while Australia fared only slightly better, conceding 29 wickets to him at 16.65.
Imran as a Captain
Imran was an inspirational captain who held the Pakistan team together by the sheer force of his personality and gave Pakistan their proudest moment in International cricket. He was the difference between a mediocre, underperforming cricket nation and an excitable, winning one. Without him, Pakistan would not be as we know and love them. He led a perennially fractious team to fulfill the aspirations of a nation. However autocratic his methods, they usually worked. In short, he ushered Pakistan cricket into its golden era. And then there is the man. As any number of women would say, just look at him.
Imran Khan turned Pakistan from a collection of talented but generally ineffective individuals into a fighting, world-class team, leading by example and through sheer will. He was loyal to talent and dismissive of bootlickers and easy riders. He battled for the success of the Pakistan cricket team, and for the honor of his country, on playing fields and in boardrooms. He unearthed some of the greatest talents you would ever see. He was a role model for Pakistanis all over the world, and he attracted a vast following from people of many other nationalities. Imran Khan was truly magnificent. For a good while, too, he was the King of Pakistan.
In fact, one of the stand-out aspects of Imran Khan was the manner in which he lifted his performances when he became captain: in the 48 Tests in which he led Pakistan he averaged 52.34 with the bat and 20.26 with the ball. Imran’s career reached the sweetest of all finales when he led Pakistan to victory in the World Cup of 1992. It was testament to how he had transformed the Pakistan team from a procession of soloists into an orchestra.
Imran and his Hospital
In his World Cup winning speech he said, “I am proud that in the twilight of my career I finally managed to win a World Cup and winning this World Cup I am sure will go a long way in helping complete one of my obsessions which is to build a cancer hospital”
This is then what he did; in order to fulfill his greatest obsession he went out to every street, every corner, every college and school; not only of Pakistan but around the world. He focused his efforts solely on social work. By 1991, he had founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, a charity organization bearing the name of his Mother, Mrs. Shaukat Khanum (who died of cancer).
As the Trust’s maiden endeavor, Imran established Pakistan’s first and only cancer hospital, constructed using donations and funds exceeding $25 million, raised by Imran Khan from all over the world. Inspired by the memory of his Mother, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, a charitable cancer hospital with 75 percent free care, opened in Lahore on 29 December 1994.
Imran currently serves as the chairman of the hospital and continues to raise funds through charity and public donations. Princess of Wales Lady Diana also visited Lahore in 1996 in order to raise funds for the Cancer hospital.
Imran and Namal College
On 27 April 2008, Imran’s brainchild, a technical college in the Mianwali District called Namal College, was inaugurated. Namal College was built by the Mianwali Development Trust (MDT), as chaired by Imran, and was made an associate college of the University of Bradford (of which Imran was a Chancellor) in December 2005. The college began its humble beginnings as a technical training and diploma awarding institute. Within this brief period, it now awards University of Bradford undergraduate degrees to its students. It is an associate college of University of Bradford, having also an advisory relationship with LUMS.
Imran and Politics
Imran entered electoral politics after few years after the end of his professional cricketing career. Since then, his most significant political work has been to bring awareness towards the lack of justice in Pakistan. Initially, Imran Khan’s politics were not taken seriously in Pakistan. However, his popularity has sharply risen, especially among women and the youth of Pakistan, after the repeated bad governance by the government and interference by US.
On 25 April 1996, Khan founded his own political party called the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with a proposed slogan of “Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem.” Recently, Imran Khan has been the only politician who has responded to terrorism allegations on Pakistan. While Khan is viewed as a fundamentalist by some political circles, he has suggested solutions for helping US and NATO forces to fight terrorism while at the same time, not creating more terrorists in Pakistan.
While many people seem hopeless about Imran’s political victory in Pakistan, he has known to someone possessing high level of determination and perseverance, as demonstrated by his cricket and philanthropic career. His political popularity is rising quickly in Pakistan and although the party has only one seat in 2002 elections and kept out of elections in 2008, resulting in no representation in Parliament, Imran Khan is considered as the one of the four major political leaders in Pakistan, especially by mainstream media.
During a campaign rally in Lahore for 2013 general election, Imran fell 14 feet as he was stepping off an improvised forklift. He was seen to be bleeding and unconscious with a gash on his head. He was then taken to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital where Imran was treated for two fractures to his spinal column. PTI won 33 seats as they emerged as the third largest party in the country. Moreover, Imran’s PTI is the leading governing party in KPK.
In a nutshell
Imran Khan was unarguably the greatest cricketer Pakistan ever produced
Imran Khan was arguably the greatest all-rounder since Sir Garry Sobers.
Thank you Imran Khan for your irreplaceable services for Pakistan Cricket. LEGEND!