Former England players thinks Pakistan’s World Cup winning captain had passion and conviction for the game
England’s retired first-class cricketer Mike Brearly has included Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan in his list of ‘favourite captains’ for his skill to spot talent in young players.
“Imran is a bit like Clive Lloyd. I don’t pick him primarily for his for tactical astuteness; I do pick him for bringing together a bunch of people, for spotting and picking young players from almost the nets that have hardly played first-class cricket,” said Brearly, while talking to ESPNcricinfo.
“Wasim Akram is an example of that, maybe Waqar Younis also. He could immediately see they had flare of talent and then grow them up and brought them into the team. I have the image of him standing head apart from the rest of the Pakistan team in a symbol of him as a leader and the team completely around him.”
Brearly also named Imran’s best options in bowling, naming him as one of the best in the business with the ball.
“He had Sarfraz, he was a fine bowler, but he himself was a terrific bowler. He also had Abdul Qadir who was a wonderfully talented leg-spinner. So he had some very fine bowlers and some good batsmen and they became a team,” explained Brearly.
Brearly, who is also an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), said that Imran had been labelled as selfish by some but a captain has to instill that trait in himself to lead the team.
“I have been asked if Imran had selfishness in his captaincy, and I think you need to combine selfishness with the team interest. There is no point if you sacrifice yourself for the team and become a useless player. The best captains can bring out the best from within their selves and also the best out their teams and sometimes they have to put themselves as the most important among the rest of the team,” opined Brearly.
However, Brearly thinks that the cricketer-turned politician had the required characteristics be listed as one of the greatest captains of all times.
“But I think in other ways of passion, conviction and of spotting talent and making a team of people that work, he is in my team and also because he was great fast-bowler.”
Imran led Pakistan to their first-ever series win against India and England in 1987. He also captained Pakistan in 14 Test wins, the joint second-highest in nation’s Test history. Under his captaincy, Pakistan played 139 ODIs and won 75 while losing 59.