Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, popularly known as Imran Khan is not just one of the greatest cricketers ever from Pakistan, but one of the all-time greats of cricket-across countries. As a fast bowler he was feared, as an all-rounder, he was respected and as a captain he was inspirational. He was the Captain of Pakistan when it won its only World Cup and he has also captained the Pakistan team to many test wins as well.
Mian Muhammed Nawaz Sharif, popularly known as Nawaz Sharif is one of the most successful politicians of Pakistan, having been its Prime Minister twice and Chief Minister of Punjab thrice. He has also served as leader of the opposition.
Stop Press; Last week of July 2018. Legendary cricketer Imran Khan is all set to be Prime Minister of Pakistan. His adversary Nawaz Sharif has been arrested and is in jail.
This blog, however, is about Nawaz Sharif’s performances (whatever little they were) on the cricket field. It makes for some amusing recollection and discussion.
There are 4 known instances, let’s have a look at them.
The 1st instance is Nawaz Sharif’s only 1st class match where he did not trouble the scorers. This was for Pakistan Railways versus Pakistan International Airlines. Opening the batting, Sharif who was just 24 was out for a duck. His wicket was claimed by Shahid Etemad, who himself was no Imran Khan, and had just 3 1st class wickets in his career of 3 1st class matches. Nawaz can claim may be that it was his bad luck that he faced Etemad in his best spell of 3/24. Whatever, in the second innings Nawaz Sharif did not bat, and hence he does not have a single run in his 1st Class cricket career.
Let’s move on to the 1987 World Cup. Nawaz Sharif played 2 matches. Now before you jump to conclusions, these were friendly matches and not recognised official matches. The details are as follows.
The 1st warm-up game was England versus Lahore Gymkhana and Sharif scored more than his only 1st class score. Philip Defreitas bowled him for 1. Once again Sharif was the opener.
The second was potentially dangerous. Sharif, once again the opening batsman (he seemed to love the spot) walked out with Mudassar Nazar for Punjab versus the fearsome West Indies team led by Viv Richards. The opposing fast bowlers were Patrick Patterson, Courtney Walsh, Eldine Baptiste and Winston Benjamin. As per Imran Khan, Mudassar Nazar was appropriately protected (apart from the normal pads and gloves) with helmet, arm guard, thigh pad and even a chest pad while Nawaz Sharif had a big smile and a floppy hat.
Imran says that he was surprised that Nawaz played as he was under the impression that he would only be the symbolic captain and go out for the toss. There was genuine concern at his well being, but luckily for Nawaz Sharif, he was bowled – without scoring. The 1st ball reached the wicketkeepers gloves before he could lift his bat, and the second hit the stumps before he could lift his bat.
That you would think was the end of the 1st class and international career of Nawaz Sharif. He had other ideas. Once as PM he organised a cricket match at a Commonwealth Head of Government Meet at Harare- and played in it as Opener. It was a friendly match between the heads of Government and a World 11, and other leaders who played in it were Prime Minister of Australia and also the British Prime Minister John Major.
Nawaz finally had a double-digit score. He was 36 not out. His sycophants say he hit multiple sixes and numerous fours (maybe their mathematics is weak as it is difficult to have multiple sixes and numerous fours in a total score of 36) but Nawaz Sharif modestly says that he does not remember hitting multiple sixes and may have hit one or two, but he remembers hitting some fours.
That’s Nawaz Sharif’s cricket career for you. His cricket days are over. However, he certainly will be hoping for one more innings in his political career. Right now his life itself is at a crossroads, and it seems that the more successful cricketer, namely Imran Khan is all set to Captain Pakistan once again, this time as its Prime Minister.
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films and music.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Pragativadi.com and Pragativadi.com does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.