Gaekwad: ‘Imran had arrogance but never looked down on people’

Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan, on Thursday, led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to victory in the general elections.

Gaekwad, a contemporary of the former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan, remembers his old opponent for his manners and charisma.   -  THe HINDU ARCHIVES

Loved madly not only for his cricketing skills but also style, Imran Khan had a certain “arrogance” about him but he never looked down upon people says former India cricketer Anshuman Gaekwad as the former Pakistan speedster is likely to begin a new innings as his country’s premier.

Imran, on Thursday, led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to victory in the general elections.

Gaekwad, a contemporary of the former Pakistan skipper, went down the memory lane and spoke about Imran, a fearsome fast bowler, who also bowled over his fans by his “killer” looks.

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“He knew that he was different. His nature, persona was different. One could make out the difference easily between him and the then Pakistani team,” Gaekwad said.

“He was a very educated man, well-mannered and knew how to carry himself and how to talk with whom. He had arrogance about himself but that did not really show every time, everywhere. Otherwise he was quite friendly,” he added.

The Oxford-educated Pasthun became a Member of Parliament in 2002 and was again elected to the National Assembly in the 2013 elections, when his party emerged as the second largest in the country by popular vote.

When asked whether Indian batsmen felt additional pressure against him, Gaekwad said Imran was a proven match winner.

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“He was a different kind of bowler. The best part was that he could bowl with the same intensity with new ball or old one. He had the speed and variation with which he used to take wickets,” said the former opener who was among the top three Indian batsmen during the Test series in Pakistan in 1983-84.

Gaewkad said Imran was always very nice to talk to and he did not mind taking suggestions.

“I remember one incident which was in Lahore during a Test match in the early ‘80s. During lunch time we were sitting next to each other. He told me that ‘I want to raise fund for a cancer hospital’ I told him that with your contacts and status, you should organise a match in the United Kingdom where he was playing for Sussex.

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I told him that a lot of people will respond as top cricketers were playing County there. The following summer he organised two charity matches. I mean he was nice to talk to. He used to talk with respect. He was not one of those who would look you down,” he added.

“He enjoyed a huge fan following everywhere he went. He was very handsome, tall. Whether it is his hair style, flair or run up, people used to love that. I would say anybody who could beat him was Nawab Pataudi . Nawab saab also had killer looks,” said Gaekwad.

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