News analysis

Crucial next innings for cricket legend who turns guardian of state

Supporters cheering for Mr Imran Khan on a street in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday. The golden boy who led the national side to its first and only cricket World Cup victory has now been thrown into an unfamiliar place - playing a defensive role as g
Supporters cheering for Mr Imran Khan on a street in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday. The golden boy who led the national side to its first and only cricket World Cup victory has now been thrown into an unfamiliar place - playing a defensive role as guardian of the state.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

On the cricket fields where he found glory and built his fame, Pakistan's Imran Khan was an aggressive leader - lithe, relentlessly swift and frequently lethal with ball and bat.

It is a trait that he took to politics, which he adopted as his profession a few years after stepping down in 1992 as the man who led the national side to its first and only cricket World Cup victory. The crowds loved their golden boy, turning up in the thousands to hear him speak. As voters, though, they were less generous.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'Crucial next innings for cricket legend who turns guardian of state'. Subscribe