Cricket is like oxygen for the people of Pakistan, they can’t breathe without Cricket | ICF – 136 – PAKISTAN
J – Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell us a bit about yourself as a cricket fan and your early memories of this sport.
First of all, Jay, Thank you for inviting me. It is always amazing to talk to someone who understands Cricket.
Actually, I don’t have many sweet memories because I was never a Cricket fan before the 2011 World Cup. After a loss against India, I heard a lot of people cursing the Pakistan team. This Criticism dragged me towards Cricket. I started understanding cricket. My Reaction was that what I was doing before, why I wasted so much time.
But still, whitewashing mighty Australia, wins against England in UAE, in England and a special victory against India is one of the sweetest memories. Then, I made my way towards Twitter and here I found the real image of cricket, luckily I also got some fame.
J – What is it like growing up in Pakistan where Cricket is the most popular sport in the country?
Cricket here in Pakistan has a different level. It brings people closer. To be honest, cricket is like oxygen for the people of Pakistan, I mean, they can’t breathe without cricket. Luckily, I belong to a country where people understand and respect this game.
J – Who was your favourite cricketer growing up and who is it currently?
Mis/You, Both are my favourites growing up. Misbah captained the test team in the most difficult time after the 2010 incident. Younis made us proud again and again with the bat. I still proudly back Misbah. Now both representing Pakistan in different roles. I have a firm belief in both of them. Their skills and experience will benefit the team a lot. And Mohammad Yousaf is a brilliant addition to them.
Currently, without any doubt, anyone would fall in love with the cover drives of Babar Azam. So he is currently one of my favourites with Rohit and Legend Virat. The pull shot of Rohit, hook shot of Kohli and cover drive from Babar Azam will make your day.
J – How did you feel when International Cricket was banned in Pakistan?
At that time I did not have much interest or knowledge of cricket but as a nation, it was a big blow. We are still trying to get out of this dreadful tragedy, but now, by God’s grace, things are returning to normal. The resumption of cricket is nothing short of a festival for cricket fans like me. Now we also have the opportunity to support our team on the ground. Crowd support plays a big role in the victory or defeat of any team. We are hopeful that soon we will see cricketers like Smith and Williamson playing on our soil.
J – The future of Pakistan Cricket lies in the hands of the two exceptionally talented young cricketers – Babar Azam with the bat and Shaheen Afridi with the ball, few words on them?
Babar Azam is the future of Pakistan cricket, the journey from hair lifter to Pakistan’s most loved one is enviable. And I have not seen a new ball bowler better than Shaheen in this generation. The ability to bring the ball to either side makes it unique and his yorkers can bring you back to the match at any time. I don’t think we will be surprised when we see Babar Azam as number one in all formats and Shaheen as the most dangerous bowler in the world.
J – Your thoughts on Pakistan – India rivalry? Which are your two favourite matches between these two teams? (Mention one match in a winning cause and the other in a losing cause)
It is our misfortune that Pakistan and India do not play each other. If there are matches between the two teams, it will be more exciting than the Ashes series. Unfortunately, I have only seen one series live between the two teams in my life. It was in 2012 in which Pakistan was victorious.
In Winning cause: It Was a test Match I think, in 2006,
Pakistan was 0-3 courtesy Irfan Pathan’s hatrick and then 39-6 but still, Pakistan won that. It was amazing how Pakistan recovered from 39-6.
Losing Cause: I hadn’t seen the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup live, but it was painful to lose so close to winning the final. But instead of blaming Misbah, Dhoni should be praised, he was so quick to change the field. I can’t write further about this, it was so painful.
J – Mention your all-time Pakistan-India XI.
Both the countries have had produced great and match-winning players, it is tough for inexperienced selectors like me to pick XI out of them but still, I tried my best.
Imran Khan (C)
Bench: Virat, Waqar, Ashwin, Shahid Afridi.