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Interview with Imran Khan

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    Interview with Imran Khan

    I clipped this article from a Sri Lankan newspaper.

    English umpire Don Oslear lied blatantly ó Imran Khan

    by Mahinda Wijesinghe
    One of the cricketing legends of modern times, former Pakistani all-rounder and skipper, Imran Khan, was on a short visit to the island recently. The cricketer now turned
    politician gave an exclusive interview to the Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD) and had a frank and an enlightening conversation, ranging from ball-tampering to the wrong tactics
    that cost us the World Cup this year, with this columnist. Excerpts of which are:

    MW: Imran, could you please clarify to our readers, most of whom are not acquainted as to why your name is Imran Khan Niazi. Is Niazi your surnameí?

    IK: Niazi is my tribal name. All Pathans are tribal. And so, my fatherís tribe is the Niazi tribe. Thatís my tribal name.

    MW: What in your opinion are the criteria that should be complied with before you can classify a player as an all-rounder?

    IK: Well, you must be able to get into the team in one department. You must be either a specialist bowler or batsman - the other bit is a bonus.

    There is no such thing as an all-rounder who canít get in either as a batsman or bowler. I mean very rare cases can come up who are not really good as a batsman or bowler but
    become useful players - but this is very rare. Normally, if I was the captain, I would pick someone who can make his way into the team in one department, then the other
    becomes a bonus.

    MW: Of the first 12 who have been younger than 17 years, and played Test cricket for their respective countries, a remarkable 9 of them have been Pakistanis. Hasan Raza, at
    a stunning 14 years and 227 days, is the youngest. How do you account for cricketers in Pakistan making the grade at such a young age? In fact Hasan Razaís age has, I
    believe, now been rejected by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

    IK: I have no idea really. I just donít think it is much of a criterion. I guess Sachin Tendulkar came in at 16, but his was an obvious talent. I donít think Hasan Raza, at the time,
    was goodenough, because he is not in the team anymore. Pakistan players play much younger, and because we donít have a proper first-class cricket structure, captains have to
    make arbitrary selections based on talent. If we had a proper first-class domestic structure, perhaps the players would not get in that early. If there was a proper first-class
    structure, I would not have got into the team - I wasnít good enough at that age!

    MW: Some observers feel that criticism of national cricketers in their own countries in the sub-continent is minimal. Yet, in countries like England and Australia, the media can
    even be vitriolic towards their players. Why?

    IK: Criticism is very hard to take for anyone. The difference is that the people who are stronger, and who get stronger, are the ones who have the capability of taking criticism,
    because itís actually a very good thing. Criticism strengthens you. People donít realise this. Criticism is a good thing. Having said that, I think that in our part of the world, we do
    not know how to handle defeat very well. We are over-reactive. Itís a real art to lose with dignity. Itís all very well when we do well. We get ecstatic and overjoyed - but itís
    important to learn how to lose.

    MW: During the summer of 1983 at Birmingham, when playing for Sussex. You achieved the only hat-trick in your first-class career. In fact, you captured 6 wickets in a mere
    23 balls, at a cost of 6 runs. Was this the match that landed you in hot water with the charge of tampering with the seam and scuffing the ball?

    IK: That had nothing to do with ball-tampering. It was just a question of reverse swing which the people at that time never understood. And the umpire who made that charge is
    basically at fault - he just distorted it later on, for the sake of the court case. I mean Don Oslear, he lied blatantly. You know thereís a report Iying in the MCC, and you can
    actually get the report of that inquiry in 1983, and thereís no mention of ball-tampering - it was a fracas I had with the bowler. He wrote that report, then years later? He
    suddenly decided that it was ball-tampering and thereís no report at the ICC. My view is that he was doing it to really help the other side in the court case. Anyway? In England
    for a long time, no one understood what reverse swing was: so whenever people got reverse swing, they called it ball-tampering. Now of course, everyone in England - Darren
    Gough, Alan Mulally and co-reverse swing the ball.

    (Will be continued next week - courtesy LMD)
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