Current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders to have played for his country. Khan was a brilliant bowler and a skilful batsman. He troubled some of the best batsmen in the world throughout his playing days with his ability to swing the ball at a good pace. Former India batsman Arun Lal recently recalled how Khan was almost unplayable in the 80s.
The former opening batsman came up against Khan on a quite a few occasions when India and Pakistan clashed against each other. He named Khan as one of the toughest bowlers he faced in his career.
Lal recalled how Pakistani bowlers were the first ones to aggressively use the art of reverse-swing which led to tampering with the condition of the ball which was made illegal later. Khan was one of the most difficult bowlers to face with a scruffed ball as he swung it ‘frighteningly’, as per Lal.
“Imran Khan to me was the toughest, especially after the concept of reverse swing started. They were the first ones to use it, unfortunately, it also came to ball-scruffing, which later became illegal,” Lal said in a live interaction with Sportskeeda.
“In 1982, it was quite a problem as the swing bowler was on our side (Kapil Dev) but Imran was swinging it frighteningly. I was sometimes beaten by 6-8 inches and it was almost impossible to play,” he added.
Khan played 88 Tests and 175 ODIs for Pakistan, amassing 3807 and 3709 runs in the two formats respectively. He also picked up 362 wickets in Tests and 182 scalps in ODIs.
“Imran was very fit and had an enormous physicality to him on the ground. From ’82 onwards, it was his time. His presence, personality and the way he came in to bowl was fantastic to see. He was captaining as well, everything was going the way he wanted to,” said Lal.
“Imran and Hadlee were the best bowlers I ever faced. Of course, the West Indies were also at you all day. You wouldn’t get spin at all and West Indies led by Lloyd were near invincible,” he added.