There are currently more than a half a dozen ‘Imran Khans’ on the domestic circuit.
But the Imran Khan from Swat has become the latest pace sensation to have gripped the imagination of cricket fans.
The 27-year-old left-arm seamer is more in the mould of Wahab Riaz when it comes to his bowling stride and is a little light on pace. But he knows that he has a proud name to live up to and much like the other young fast bowlers in the country, Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup-winning captain is an inspiration for Imran as well.
“My favourite hero in cricket is Imran Khan,” Imran toldcricket.com.au in an interview.
“Although I am not named after him, the name always instills passion in me,” he added.
Imran’s heroic in the National T20 Cup won him a place in the Pakistan T20 side and he says he ready to move up a grade.
“Wherever you play cricket you need to be mentally strong for it. If you are mentally strong then you can play cricket anywhere in world, therefore I believe I am ready to play international cricket.”
“There is no better feeling than playing for your country. I want to play for Pakistan.”
Swat, better known as teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai’s hometown, has a big following for football and volleyball. But Imran’s bowling against Pakistan’s superstar, Shahid Afridi, is likely to provide a boost to the game in the valley.
“I wanted to bowl at least one over to Afridi. I wanted to test my variations against him.”
“He is the most powerful hitter in the world, therefore I wanted to see if I could survive against his powerful hitting. It was a great feeling.”
Pakistan will be travelling to Zimbabwe for two Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs starting September 27.
Imran says he ready to outfox the batsmen should the Pakistan call-up come.
“I always read the batsman first. After I figure out his strength I find ways to bowl against his strength,” he said.
“Having control on your variation is the main art. If you have control on your variations then you can be successful in any situation.”