Interview: Imran Khan

Interview: Imran Khan

Post by Shashin Sh » Thu, 06 Jan 1994 02:27:31

Interview: Imran Khan - "Cricket Seems So  Distant"  -  Pakistani
Cricketer - Nov., 1993.

Question:  What was life after cricket  been  like?   Aren't  you
missing  the  e***ment  which  is  such  an  integral part of a
sportsman's life?
Answer:  No, not at all, there's so much  else to  do   in  life.
Cricket was just a part of it.  In fact, when I look back, crick-
et seems so distant.

Question:  Why didn't you play in the Indo-Pak  matches  you  had
organized  in  England  for  the  cancer hospital?
Answer:  I no longer feel the urge to  go  out  there  and  play.
You   know  since the  World  Cup  final (March 1992) I've lifted
a bat only twice.  That too was more a case of putting in an  ap-
pearance  than  playing  seriously.    I've   not   been  to  the
nets...nothing...and I've not missed it at all.

Question:  So cricket has not left a void in your life?
Answer: Honestly,  no.   I  told  you there's so much else to  do
in life.  Like, I'm so occupied with the cancer hospital.

Question:  Pakistani supporters disrupted the recent match at the
Crystal Palace and it had to be abandoned.  Since you were organ-
izing the match what  was  your  reaction  to  the  whole  thing?
Answer:   I'm  still  so  disgusted.  I was very angry and upset.
After all, people must understand that it is a cricket match, and
not  a  war  that  is  going  on out there.  Anyway, I won't take
another chance.  I've decided henceforth I won't organize another
Indo-Pak  tie  in  England,  or  for that matter, anywhere in the
world.

Question:  Last year almost the same thing had happened, at Brad-
ford.  The Indians were in a winning position and then the Pakis-
tani supporters created so much chaos that the organizers had  no
choice but to abandon the match.  Why did not you learn from past
experience?  Why wasn't the security beefed up  for  the  Crystal
Palace  match?
Answer:   Of  course,  security was strengthened.  This  time  we
paid  much  more for the security keeping last  year's experience
in mind.  But now I've realized, people who come only  to  create
problems  and  not  watch  the  match,  will  continue  to create
problems.   You  can't stop them.  So I've decided  not  to  have
another tie.

Question:  When are you opening your  cancer  hospital?
Answer: We had planned to begin in December.  But due to unavoid-
able circumstances we have had to keep on postponing the  date.
Now  we plan to open on the 23rd of March, 1994.

Question:  How much have you raised for the hospital  till  date?
Answer:   Five million dollars.  And to start off we need another
five million.

Question:  How can you hope to raise the rest by the  third  week
of  March,  1994?   There's  hardly  any time left.
Answer:  You can't.  Though I will keep on  trying   very   hard.
I'll   go  for another  round of fund-raising programme in the US
and elsewhere.  Eventually, I guess, we will have to  go  in  for
soft loans.

Question:  You've raised money in various  parts  of  Europe,  in
West  Asia,  in the US, in South Africa.  Why haven't you come to
India?  You still have a large captive Indian audience who  would
definitely  have  helped?
Answer:  You see, there are people who might not  like  it.   The
situation now is bad, that one voice here or  there  can rake off
a controversy.  Supposing I  came  and  then  someone  said,  why
should  the  Hindus  contribute for a hospital  in Pakistan?   It
could snowball into a very bitter situation.   Why  go  into  it?
And  then  it's  easy  to  comply with to exchange  regu- lations
elsewhere.  For instance, our trust is registered in the US.   It
would be easier getting the money back to Pakistan.

Question:  If reports are to be believed, your fund-raising  pro-
gramme  in South Africa did not take off.  Why was that?
Answer: Because the South  African  Board  sabotaged  the   fund-
raising  programme.   I  felt  completely let down by Ali Bacher.
He did not help me one bit.  This was the same gentleman who
once  approached  me  to  go  and  play in South Africa and I had
declined.  In the past, he had made so many PR calls calls to  my
London   residence, for  promoting  their case in the ICC through
the Pakistan Board.  Imagine, the same person declined to give us
permission  to  play friendly matches.
  We were organizing matches between my XI and Clive  Rice's  XI.
Incidentally,  Clive  Rice's mother had also died of cancer.  But
Ali Bacher put his foot down.  His argument was that he could not
have  anything before the Indian tour.  Now that was silly.  Tell
me, how would a few friendly matches between an Imran Xi and Rice
XI have affected the Indian tour?  No way, and we were only rais-
ing money for a noble cause.

Question:  When you had started off the  hospital  project,  many
thought you were being crazy.  And then people came up with alle-
gations that the hospital would never be built and that  you  had
ulterior motives.  Now do you feel, come March, and you will have
a point to prove?
Answer:  No, no.  I'm not concerned with proving  a  point   to
my  detractors.  That is too trivial an issue.  What I am dealing
with is a matter of much greater   significance.   If   you   can
save  cancer  patients, if you can give them the best facilities,
the best services, that would be  much  more  fulfilling,  that
is my criteria at the moment.  I don't worry about who said that.

Question:  Okay, let me put it this way.  From a  glorious  World
Cup  victory  to  nearing the end of a dream project.  Where does
Imran Khan go from there?
Answer:  Well, merely opening the hospital  gates  won't   mean
anything  to  me.   You'll  have to provide service of the highes
quality.  It should be a   dream   institute!   And   to   ensure
that,  you  got  to keep on working hard for another four or five
years.  Then maybe you can think of another goal.

Question:  Indians will be welcome to come across the border  and
be  admitted?
Answer:  Of course.  My philosophy in life is that I  believe  in
humanity.  For me, national boundaries are just mere geographical
boundaries.   Nothing more.  I look at it this way,  God  is  for
manking,  not just X, Y or  a  Z  nation.   Any  Indian would  be
welcome  here.   For that matter I've sent quite a few Pakistanis
to  the Tata Cancer Research Institute in  Bombay.   If tomorrow,
the Indian Cancer Research Society asks for  any  kind  of  help,
then  Imran Khan is ready.  At the end of  the  day  if  you can-
not  serve humanity, then your record  or  personal  achievements
mean nothing.

Question:  Almost every year we get to read you are getting  mar-
ried  to so and it never happens.  If you've decided not to marry
why don't you openly say it?  If nothing  else,  the  unnecessary
speculation  will stop now.
Answer:  Look, I donot have any plans of getting married now. But
it's  not  that I've taken a final decision  not  to marry.  I d
on't know the answer myself. Maybe I'll marry,  maybe I won't!

Question:  Your detractor in the press claim, you've  been  using
your post as advisor to the Board of Control for Crickt in Pakis-
tan with a vengeance.  According to them, you had  plotted  Javed
Miandad's  ouster from the Pakistan captaincy?
Answer:  How stupid!  See, I'm so occupied with the cancer hos-
pital  project  that I  hardly  find  any time for the job.  If I
had time, I would've sat down with the Board and chalked  out  as
to how we  can  change the  domestic  cricket  structure  in  our
country.  The domestic structure is so bad here in Pakistan.
  As for removing Miandad, let me tell you,  I  had  no  role  to
play.   The  Board  was  already  contemplating a change and they
sought my advice as to who could be the fittest?  I had suggested
Wasim's  name,  yes.  But by then, the Board had decided to go in
for a new skipper.  So how can I be blamed?

Question:  Are you happy the way Akram has led so  far?
Answer: Yes.  I think, he is doing a decent job.

Shash