Sunday, July 21, 2019 | ePaper
"You can't retire now" - Gavaskar recalls how Imran challenged him to delay his plans
Sunil Gavaskar revealed how Imran Khan, who was sworn in as Pakistan's new Prime Minister on Saturday, challenged him to postpone his retirement.
The former Indian captain had plans of retiring from all formats of the game after India's tour to England in 1986. However, when Gavaskar met Imran for a Lunch in London, the Pakistan captain told the 'Little Master' to delay his plans and witness Pakistan beating India in India.
"'You can't retire now. Pakistan is coming to India next year and I want to beat India in India. If you aren't part of that team, it won't be the same. Come on, let's have one last tilt against each other,'" wrote Gavaskar about his conversation with Imran.
The 69-year-old wrote that he told Imran if the tour was not announced before the last Test against England, he will announce his retirement. "I said if the announcement of the tour wasn't made before the final Test, I would go ahead and announce my retirement from international cricket. The tour was indeed announced in a few days.
"Pakistan won the last and final Test of that series after the earlier Tests were all drawn and thus beat India for the first time in India. I didn't announce my retirement at the end of the Pakistan series as I was keen on playing the MCC bi-centenary Test at Lord's a little later," he added.
The cricketer-turned-commentator also heaped praise on Imran for having that belief that Pakistan would lift the 1992 World Cup. "He had a vision before the 1992 World cup started that Pakistan would win the trophy and that's exactly how it turned out. His belief despite Pakistan's slow start to the tournament was unshakeable."
Apart from sending his wishes, Gavaskar also said that most Indians would want Imran to succeed in his new role. "He is the only Prime Minister of Pakistan who has come to India several times as an ordinary citizen and has interacted not only with the high societal types but also the man on the street who met him as a fan. He should, therefore, be well aware that most Indians would want him to succeed as a Prime Minister and usher in a new era of friendship, and look forward not back.
"If his success as the cricket skipper is anything to go by, he will instill not just a sense of self-belief but also destiny in his ministerial and party colleagues. Not just Pakistanis but the Indians also want him to take care of the problems between the two countries and bring a new zest to the relationship, for if Imran 'Khant' then nobody can," he concluded.