Karachi: India’s cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri, in his recently released book ‘Stargazing: The players in my life’, revealed that former captain and current Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is one of the greatest players that the game has ever seen.
Stating that the records that Khan generated in his career speak for themselves, Shastri added that if further validation is needed, then the experiences of those who played with and against Khan would come in handy as well.
“Imran Khan is one of the greatest captains and players the game has seen. Why I hold this view hardly needs qualification. His records speak of itself and if at all further validation is necessary, it comes from the experience of those who played with or against him,” wrote Shastri in his book.
Shastri also stated that when India toured Pakistan in 1978, he saw Imran Khan playing on TV for the first time. “When India toured Pakistan. He was then making a mark as one of the best all-rounders in cricket after a rather slow start to his career,” wrote Shastri.
The current Indian Head Coach also revealed that when Pakistan visited India next season, he was present at the Wankhede Stadium to see Imran Khan. Shastri also wrote that Khan’s control over swing made life hell for batsmen.
“When Pakistan came to India the next season, I made sure to get a place in the North Stand at the Wankhede Stadium. Imran’s strength was his remarkable control over swing and reverse swing. The steeply curving late swingers or ‘indippers’ as they were called then, made life hellish for batsmen,” revealed Shastri in his book.
Shastri also opened up on his first meeting with the former Pakistan cricketing great. It was in the year 1987 that Shastri played against Khan when he was leading the Indian U-25 team against Pakistan, and Imran Khan had arrived late for the game.
Imran Khan was late as he was stuck in traffic and wanted to start bowling as soon as he was back, which Shastri refused. Shastri also told the umpires to go by the rules of the game. The 59-year-old Shastri added that Khan told another bowling great Wasim Akram to bounce him out.
Ravi Shastri paid rich tributes to Imran Khan in his book and labeled the Pakistan cricketer as the best batsman among the four great all-rounders of his time.
“Among the four great all-rounders of that era, Imran was the best batsman, technically and temperamentally, according to the situation demanded,” concluded Shastri.