Indian cricket team Head Coach Ravi Shastri has praised Imran Khan in his recently released book ‘Stargazing: The players in my life. According to him, Imran’s records speak for the legendary cricketer.
“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 saw Imran Khan playing on TV for the first time in 1978. He was then making a mark as one of the leading all-rounders in world cricket. “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.
When Pakistan visited India next season, Shastri was present at the Wankhede Stadium to see Imran Khan.
“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.
Ravi Shastri further opened up on playing against Imran Khan when he was leading the Indian U-25 team against Pakistan.
Imran was late as he was stuck in traffic and wanted to bowl as soon as he was back in the stadium. However, Shastri refused and told umpires to follow the rules.
“In 1987, when I was leading the Under-25 team against Pakistan, Imran arrived late to the stadium for the match. He apologised, saying he was stuck in traffic. Fair enough, but he wanted to start bowling straight away, which I wasn’t agreeable to as this was against the rules.
Sensing the umpires were vacillating, I told them to mind their own business and go by the book. Imran’s message to Wasim Akram and the other bowlers in that game was to bounce the sh*t out of me,” wrote Shastri.