Saturday, 26 November 2011

The 'I' Khan

25th March 1992 is etched into the memory of every cricket fan in Pakistan who was old enough to swing a bat on that historic day; Pakistan won the cricket world cup. Almost twenty years have passed since that fateful day, enough time for a new generation to edge out the previous. We now have players in our national side who were in diapers and even those who had not made their world debut in 1992. Surely, the new generation has heard stories from their parents detailing where they were and who they watched the final game with. They may have seen reruns of the game on a sports channel or have dug up clips on YouTube and watched Wasim Akram bowl the two greatest deliveries of his career. However, it is only the highlights that this generation has seen. They have missed out on the complete experience.

The captain of Pakistan's world cup winning team, Imran Khan currently attracts a large following from this generation. A generation that does not really know the person behind the face. The media has painted Imran as the messiah we have been waiting for. Many have taken their word for it. This article is meant to highlight a detail of the 1992 triumph that throws some light on the man that is Imran. Shortly after Rameez took the catch and sealed the win, Imran was called up to receive the world cup and say a few words. Here is his speech, verbatim.
I would just like to say, I want to give my commiseration to the English team but I want them to know that by winning this world cup, firstly, it means that one of my greatest obsessions in life which is to build a cancer hospital, I am sure that it will go a long way towards completion of this obsession. I would also like to say that I feel very proud that at the twilight of my career I have managed to win the world cup.
These 87 words form probably the most egotistical victory speech by a captain in the history of team sports. The words 'I ' and 'my' appear a total of 9 times in this brief utterance. Although he did remember to mention the English team he did not consider it important to mention the Pakistani team. Words like 'Allah', 'we', 'Pakistani', 'teamwork', 'nation', 'my people' and 'thank you' were considered unnecessary or redundant. Wasim Akram, the Man of the Match and the leading wicket taker, Javed Miandad the 2nd highest scorer in the tournament were considered unworthy of acknowledgement. He was the team, he was the country and he was the reason the world set up the entire show. Imran and his backers try to clarify that it was an emotional moment and the speech had not been previously prepared. However, it is in these unrehearsed moments that the person inside truly shines through.

How is this relevant to what Imran promises us today? It is relevant because despite his claims of being a changed person we are dealing with the same man. His ego is on full display in his political life. He deems every politician in the country corrupt except himself and those who chose to follow him. His party revolves around him. Elections have not been held in the party to avoid the inconvenience of dealing with and giving weight to elected party officials. He single handedly formulates the party policies. Founding members of the party have deserted him realizing that they were irrelevant. They have been replaced by opportunists who see no problems in yelling out "yes sir" as long as it takes them closer to the leader and hence to power. Imran is not a person who can successfully lead a democratically elected government. Democracy demands listening to others, giving weight to their opinions and making your policies subordinate to the wisdom of the team. While there is no 'I' in team, there is a capital 'I' in Imran.


  1. Compared to the rest, he is our best choice. I can't stand Nawaz, Zardari or Altaf any more. I'll give IK a chance!

  2. write what you really believe .. that is it was due to visionary leadership of then PM Nawaz Sharif :P