Connect with us


“Credibility is the key” – Imran



(When World Cup winning former Pakistan captain Imran Khan visited the island 16 years ago to deliver a speech at the CIMA Global Leaders Summit at BMICH, The Island’s respected cricket columnist Rohan Wijeyaratna had been invited for the forum. Rohan in successive weeks, through his column, told Imran’s message to our readers. We reproduce his second installment today. This first appeared on the 18th of June 2005. The first installment was published yesterday.)


Yesterday we closed at the point where Imran refused General Musharaff’s invitation to the premiership and paid the price. However, he believed he was now closer to his objective than ever. He said his refusal was based on a matter of principle and gave him credibility. Credibility was the key to leadership. If you wished people to follow you, it was important that you have credibility and if that was lost, one could never aspire to leadership. “The key to leadership” said Imran, “is the ability to command people’s respect. People will never respect you if you are not credible.” Words that must ring true in the ears of every leader in this country, be it in politics, commerce, industry, education or indeed sports itself, including those who have or intend to, exchange their flannels for a sarong and a seat in parliament.


The fear of failure

If lack of vision was a major impediment towards not achieving one’s ambition, then the fear of failure was the next. “People were petrified of failure,” Imran stated. Such men would not try anything due to fear of criticism that followed failure. They worried too much of what others would say if they failed. This was the biggest trap, the biggest prison one could create for oneself. All his life Imran had people laugh at him, but his advice was never to be put off by that.

He opined that public sentiment was extremely fickle. You go out to bat one day and everyone cheers. If you get out first ball, everyone jeers. Observing that Pakistan losing to India was not an option, he recalled his first tour to India where Pakistan lost despite a far stronger team than the Indians. Returning home was a calculated risk, involving judicious timing. So when the plane landed in the wee hours of the morning, the over-zealous customs officers stripped them of everything and ensured that they did not leave the airport until daybreak and in full public view. They stayed indoors thereafter for a week. Yet six to seven years later when they arrived after beating India, there were 150,000 at the airport and the roads were lined up with people on either side several rows deep for 5 miles! With such exposure to public fickleness it was easy to view failures in perspective and not be scared of what others might have to say.

Imran reckoned that the worry of failure also prevented some from taking calculated risks in life. And without taking a risk you can only settle for mediocrity, never achieving any heights. “Failure” he said was “the greatest teacher ever. It teaches you more than when winning.” Victory makes you forget the mistakes but defeat ensures that mistakes stare you in the face and that you come to terms with them. Crisis is sometimes the best teacher, but one needs to be able to analyze a crisis and not allow it to destroy one’s self belief. Therefore, by putting things into perspective and analyzing rationally, it was possible to come back stronger for it. Taking the example of Zaheer Abbas, Imran said there was none so gifted as he, yet the fear of failure often petrified the man and he never reached his fullest potential. When one feared failure one not only forgot how to win but lost the killer instinct as well. Giving another example, Imran recalled playing against Australia minus all their stars who had defected to the Packer camp. It was literally an Aussie ‘B’ team and Pakistan being vastly superior; there was no comparison. Predictably Pakistan won the first Test but just before the second and final Test, their captain said that under no circumstance should they lose the match. The whole team played so negatively in order not to lose, they ended up losing the match!


Self belief

Fear of failure made one defensive. Then it was easy to miss opportunities. Belief in success makes one develop the killer instinct so that when opportunities come they are grabbed, as you have been looking for them. Imran attributed his success as captain largely to self belief. “I was successful as captain even with a weak team because when I stepped on to a cricket field I never thought anyone could defeat me.”

Such was his attitude even when playing the indomitable West Indies at their peak. Then it was not a question of winning but losing with dignity! Yet, he famously called for and got neutral umpires to stand, saying that when Pakistan won it would not be attributed to their own umpires! Also, it helped remove the ‘crutch’ his players were used to with ‘home’ umpires, as it effectively told them ‘you are on your own’ and that they were good enough to win. Imran recognized that if one half of every good player was technique and talent, the other half was all temperament and mind. Pakistan registered a shock win but eventually the series was drawn. He never mentioned of course his immense all-round contribution towards that win!

Those who looked to succeed would be positive and made the ‘lesser known’ and the ‘not so good’ play beyond themselves by making them believe in themselves. This was the job of a leader. He should never destroy the self belief of his players. The body language of a captain was a good deal more important than all the speeches he would make in the pavilion. Imran reiterated his central thesis – that everyone had tremendous potential. It was merely a matter of getting it out. Reminding the audience of a favourite line from Robert Frost – “To take the path that is less trodden upon, and that’s what makes the difference” – Imran stated that fearlessness in taking the path others feared to take would make one strong, and draw on one’s potential.

In 1987 Imran retired at his peak having achieved all what he wanted to. Besides, he was unwilling to be at the mercy of the selectors anyway. However, Pakistan were then invited to the West Indies but no one was willing to lead the side and the team also refused to go. So General Zia gave Imran a way out. Hosting a banquet, he asked Imran to come out of retirement for the sake of the team. Imran obliged, taking a very poor team to the Caribbean. They won one and lost one as the series was drawn. It was the first time in 15 years that any team visiting the Caribbean had done it, and given a team that was nowhere near the West Indies, it was a remarkable achievement. “You are as big as the challenges you accept,” was his explanation.



Lastly, he dwelt on how a leader can command respect. Integrity was the key. Without integrity a leader could not command respect. National leaders, team leaders, be it anyone, they must earn the trust of their charges. It is only then that people will follow them. Leading by example was important. As a cricketer it was important never to expect your team to do anything which you wouldn’t do yourself. Be it in training or observing team discipline, the leader had to show the way for the rest to follow. This was a cardinal principle in establishing one’s credibility.


Leaders cannot break the law

Imran said that the third world was the way it was because it spawned leaders who broke every law, yet expected others to follow it. In Pakistan’s case he said that General Musharaff had desecrated the constitution but expected the common people and the police to follow the law. If you broke the law, everyone else also will. Imran spoke of his hospital which was the biggest charitable institution in Pakistan and which set high standards. It ran as a successful institution because no one broke its rules. Starting with himself – its chairman and founder – everyone observes the set criteria for admission. He was pressurized ceaselessly, particularly by his own constituency but to date he has not admitted one single patient out of turn. Neither has he taken any more staff than was necessary. So he doesn’t break the law and neither does anyone else. That was the key to its success. All he needed was to make one or two allowances, and the whole system would then collapse, because others would also follow suit. So, a leader must lead by example. If he wished his team to fight, he needed to fight himself.



The next important thing was courage. A cowardly leader was again a contradiction in terms. If one did not have the courage or ability to take the big decisions, one can never make a good leader. Good leaders always recognized the downside of any big decisions. There is no such thing as a risk free big decision. Every decision carried a risk. But a great leader would know the downside before he took that risk. That is bravery. A stupid leader will do something like the charge of the light brigade where you charge into the guns not knowing what opposition you got. “It is courage and bravery when you take a decision and as a result you know you will be wiped out at an election because you are up against the military establishment. And despite that you still go and fight the election – that’s bravery.”


Must be selfless, have no ego and ready to work with all

And finally, a leader has to be selfless. He must only be loyal to the cause. He must work even with those whom he resents or who irritate him. He must never put his ego in front of his cause. This is the biggest downfall of most people he said. Even in his own political party, leaders at various levels expect personal loyalty rather than loyalty to the bigger cause. Therefore, wrong selections are made, the team doubts the fairness and respect is lost. Then you have a hamstrung leader. It was important not to allow your ego to come in the way of your cause. Imran said that he learnt most of his lessons watching and analyzing others make mistakes.

There were two fundamental mistakes that one must avoid. They are, never to underestimate your enemy, and to be able to work with anyone to get the best of a team. Leaders must work with all individuals. “In my political party, there is this member of the central executive who irritates me, abuses me and each time we do badly, he unfairly criticizes me. But I can’t even think of excluding him from the central executive because there is a side to him which is extremely valuable to the party and as long as someone is valuable to your objective, you must work with him. It’s only when he becomes an impediment in reaching that objective that you kick him out. But never because you don’t like him. When the ego comes in, it is a very destructive force in achieving your objective,” said Imran in conclusion.


An Oscar winning performance

The only reason why Imran Khan didn’t receive the standing ovation he so richly deserved was because the audience was recovering from shock and forgot that courtesy. The shock of listening to the truth presented so candidly and without fear; two aspects that had almost gone out of style in his country. It was an Oscar winning performance which touched and lifted everybody and if the tiles on the roof rattled through the applause that followed, it was merely to signal the genuine and heartfelt appreciation of a grateful and inspired audience.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


IPL 2023 rule change: teams will name their playing XI after the toss



IPL captains this year will walk out to the toss with two XIs handy

Captains in IPL 2023 will walk in with two different team sheets before handing in their final XI after the toss. That is one of the significant tweaks from the last season in the IPL’s playing conditions, which will soon be shared with the teams. The change, the IPL said in an internal note listing the various changes to playing conditions, would allow franchises to pick their best XIs based on whether they end up batting or bowling, the appropriate impact player included.

“Currently the captains have to exchange the teams before the toss,” the note, seen by ESPNcricinfo, said. “This has been changed to exchange of teams immediately post the toss, to enable teams to choose the best XI depending on whether they are batting or bowling first. It will also assist the teams to plan for the impact player.”

The IPL thus becomes the second T20 franchise tournament after the SA20 to allow teams to announce their XI post the toss. In the SA20, which recently staged its inaugural season, teams put 13 names on the team sheet initially before announcing their final XI after the toss. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, the SA20’s tournament director, had also said then that the move was designed to “lessen the impact of the toss” and allow a level-playing playing field based on the conditions.

The IPL has adopted a similar thought process now, with another key factor being neutralising the effect of dew, which has traditionally had a big impact at some venues in India, with teams bowling second adversely impacted.

While the toss will still matter, it should not be a case of “win toss, win match” in certain conditions with the new rule. For example, if a team that wanted to bat and then defend a total on a slow track in turning conditions is forced to bowl first, it can play an extra spinner in the starting XI, and then replace a specialist bowler with a batter in the second innings to help with the run-chase.

Other IPL playing conditions tweaks

Over rate penalty of only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle for every over not completed in the allocated time. Unfair movement of the wicketkeeper will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs. Unfair movement by a fielder will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs.


Continue Reading


Litton, Tamim make light work of small chase after Mahmud’s maiden five-for



Tamim Iqbal and Litton Das never gave Ireland a chance

Openers Litton Das and Tamim Iqbal made light work of a 102-run target as Bangladesh beat Ireland by ten wickets in the third ODI in Sylhet and completed a 2-0 series win. The visitors were bowled out for 101 in 28.1 overs after the Bangladesh fast bowlers took all ten wickets in an innings for the first time in the format.

The short chase was enlivened by Tamim and Litton, who put on an exhibition of strokeplay, finishing the game in just 13.1 overs, Bangladesh’s second-shortest chase in ODIs. After Bangladesh beat Ireland by a record margin of runs in the first ODI, this was also their first ten-wicket win in ODIs.

A small crowd turned up at the picturesque Sylhet venue on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan starting, and went home shortly after sunset. Ireland’s 101 broke a sequence of five successive 300-plus totals by the side batting first on this ground.

Hasan Mahmud’s maiden five-wicket haul, Taskin Ahmed’s three-wicket burst and Ebadot Hossain’s two-for summed up the absolute dominance by the Bangladesh fast bowlers. The spinners were needed for only four overs in all with Shakib Al Hasan not getting a chance to bowl for only the third time in his ODI career. It was a day out for the quicks on the hard and bouncy Sylhet surface, a rarity among grounds in Bangladesh. The conditions prompted the team management to pick six bowlers including the three seamers.

Mahmud removed openers Stephen Doheny and Paul Stirling in a disciplined opening burst. Doheny was caught behind for 8 after scratching around for 20 balls before Stirling, dropped on 5, got to 7 before Mahmud trapped him lbw in the ninth over. The skiddy fast bowler soon picked up his third when he trapped Harry Tector lbw later in the same over. Taskin got captain Andy Balbirnie caught at first slip for just 6 as Ireland collapsed to 26 for 4 before the first powerplay was up.

Then came their only partnership of note. Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher added 42 runs for the fifth wicket, which effectively helped Ireland reach the three-figure mark. Campher top-scored with 36, while Tucker made 28, the only two double-figure scores in the innings.

But it was soon over. Ebadot’s in-dipper had Tucker lbw. Next ball, Ebadot clean-bowled George Dockrell for a golden duck as Ireland slipped to 68 for 6.Taskin then took a brace in his seventh over, first getting Andy McBrine to top-edge a quick bouncer before Adair inside-edged his second ball onto the stumps.

Campher was the ninth wicket that fell, top-edging Mahmud towards fine leg. Taskin took a comfortable catch, celebrating the younger team-mate’s first four-wicket haul. It soon became five when Mahmud trapped Graham Hume lbw for 3.

Tamim started the chase with a slashed four over point, before pasting the Ireland fast bowlers for boundaries through cover and square-leg. Most of Litton’s boundaries came through the covers, including a back-foot punch that looked scrumptious from every angle. Left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys then went for two expensive overs, before the Bangladesh opening pair calmed down briefly.

Tamim lofted Humphreys for a straight six in his third over, before Litton drove Campher through the covers. Then he struck two fours off Humphreys to reach his ninth ODI fifty, before Tamim hit the winning runs.

Brief scores:

Bangladesh 102 for 0 (Litton Das 50*, Tamim Iqbal 41*) beat Ireland 101 (Curtis Campher 36, Lorcan Tucker 28, Hasan Mahmud 5-32, Taskin Ahmed 3-26, Ebadot Hossain 2-29) by ten wickets


Continue Reading


AA Sponsors 68th National Billiard Championship



President AAC Dhammika Attygalle hands over the sponsorship to the Secretary of the B & SASL Kumar Lanerolle in the presence of P.H. Liyanage – Billiard Chairman AAC, Lasitha Gunaratne – Exco Member - AAC and Member of the National Sports Council, Devapriya Hettiarachchi – Secretary AAC and Anton Kandiah – Treasurer of the B & SASL and Billiard Secretary of the AAC.

The Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) will sponsor the 68th National Billiard Championship, conducted by the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka (B & SASL) this year.

The Automobile Association of Ceylon established in 1904 is the oldest Motoring Organization in Sri Lanka,and is afiliated to the Federation Internationale De L’ Automobile, world largest Mobility Organization in Geneva, which has 150 countries under its umbrella. AAC’s prime object is to make all Road users safe.

AAC conducts annual Billiard and Snooker Tournaments for its members and also takes part in the inter-club tournaments in order to promote the cue sports. In the past, AAC members have excelled in several National Billiard and Snooker Tournaments and brought glory to the association.

Continue Reading