Pakistan’s 1992 winners ‘did not fulfil potential’


Imran Khan reflects on his nations 1992 World Cup heroics

PAKISTAN’S former World Cup winning captain Imran Khan has said his 1992 world beaters did not fulfil their potential following their sensational final victory over England.

The win in Australia remains the country’s solitary World Cup triumph, yet they did power to victory over Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 tournament last month.

Khan, who turned his attentions to politics shortly after retiring from the game, reflected on his teams 1992 winning campaign as part of an ICC event yesterday that launched the official logo of the 2011 games which will be hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Khan, who retired from the game at the end of the 1987 World Cup, was persuaded by cricket chiefs to return for one last outing for the 1992 campaign to head a team that had yet to win cricket’s most coveted prize.

“I think victory in the 1992 World Cup provided me an ideal opportunity to sign off on my 21-year career with dignity and as a very proud and satisfied man,” Khan said. “It was an absolute privilege to come back from retirement, play in that tournament and provide the country the joy it had been waiting for a very long time.”

Khan said the win helped cricket “spread in rural and urban areas in Pakistan like wildfire” as well as helping transform his young side into “world-beaters”.

But he believes the potential of the team laden with emerging stars like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram was never fulfilled.

“I firmly believe that, as a unit, it did not really achieve as much as it should have,” Khan admitted. “But players like Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was the find of the tournament, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who missed the tournament due to injury, went on to become legends of the game.”

The winning campaign was even more remarkable given the fact Pakistan were on the brink of a first round elimination having lost four of their five opening matches.

Ironically it was the turning weather that saved their campaign. Having been bowled out for a measly 74 by England – the team they would defeat in the final – the heavens opened and sustained rain meant officials had no other choice but to declare the match as a ‘no result’ .

Their turn in fortune gave Pakistan the impetus they required to kickstart their campaign.

Four victories on the trot – including an incredible semi-final win over New Zealand – took them to the final where a captain’s innings and the swing mastery of Wasim Akram gave them victory over England.

Khan said he saw his team’s mentality change over the course of the campaign as they battled elimination at the start of the tournament.

“Victory in Australia changed the mind-set of the players as prior to that event we used to lose from winning positions,” Khan said.

“In that tournament, we had started slowly and were then 50-1 at one stage to win the title. So, to win from an impossible position had to have its positive effects on the side. I thought the Pakistan team also gelled very nicely in that tournament and peaked at the right time.”

For Khan the win also allowed him to fulfil his dream of building the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore in memory of his mother who died from cancer.

“I believe the World Cup glory also helped me a long way in raising funds for the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital and Research Centre.,” Khan said. “I knew that if we won the event, I would be able to generate funds that were required to put together a state-of-the-art hospital, the first of its kind in Pakistan.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Six weeks after lifting the World Cup over £1m was donated to the project, while Khan himself donated his entire match winning prize money.

Today the centre remains one of Pakistan’s leading medical facilities that opens its doors to all, irrespective of class and social standing.

To think it all came about because of a game of cricket is all the remarkable.

With Pakistan eager to follow up their World Twenty20 triumph with cricket’s ultimate prize, Khan believes the tournament is the jewel in the cricket crown.

“In my book no event can match the glamour, value and interest of a 50-over World Cup.”


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