The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Imran unfazed by gunpoint-robbery
- Initially, I did worry about my sons getting traumatised, admits the Pakistani legend

Calcutta: Imran Khan has a string of enviable records, but a somewhat dubious entry sneaked into his CV late on Friday: Being robbed at gunpoint.

On the morning-after, though, the National Assembly's most glamorous member ' potential Prime Minister as well ' and Pakistan's sole World Cup-winning captain sounded unfazed.

'I wasn't unduly alarmed when our LandCruiser was forced to stop (some 20 minutes from Islamabad), but I did get concerned when I saw the armed robbers themselves were nervous,' he told The Telegraph.

Speaking from an associate's cellphone, Imran added: 'Actually, they didn't have much to take, yet I initially did worry about my sons (Sulaiman and Qasim) getting traumatised. Three of their friends ' all in the five-seven age-group ' were also in the vehicle and such young kids can get distressed' Thankfully, all are okay.'

But, surely, the robbers must have recognised a national icon like him'

'They probably didn't, not even after I got down and confronted them' They were edgy and intent wholly on quickly finishing the job' The motive, clearly, was plain robbery' I've lodged a complaint, but the problem is that the Islamabad police is only concerned about protecting VIPs' There's so much lawlessness just outside the capital,' Imran replied.

Being opposed to the present dispensation, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf chairman has got one more stick to beat the Establishment with.

Laughing, however, Imran confirmed the gunpoint-action was an absolute first for him: 'Yes, I made my debut!' He has, of course, been on shikars and isn't exactly unfamiliar with firearms.

[According to an agency report, interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao described the incident as 'unfortunate' and directed the administration to nab the culprits.]

Imran, recently back from London, and the rest were returning to Islamabad from his designer farmhouse which is nearing completion on the outskirts of the capital.

Incidentally, contrary to Friday night's news, Imran wasn't himself at the wheel. The robbers were in a Suzuki van or dibba.

Talking cricket, Imran expressed surprise at India's capitulation in the series against Australia.

'This definitely isn't the team which beat us in our own backyard not very months ago' Something is missing' From what I've gathered, the Indians have repeatedly succumbed to relentless pressure,' he remarked.

In Imran's view, Irfan Pathan's absence made a huge difference in Nagpur and may have a big impact in the fourth and final Test as well, in Mumbai.

'Pathan is a genuine strike bowler and would have been a handful' He could continue to be sorely missed' Today, it's important for the Indian batsmen to stand up and be counted' How can you beat Australia if, in three Tests, you get past 300 only once' Imran asked.

He continued: 'The series has been lost, but India should find a way to quickly get back on track' Getting big runs is going to be one way, but the driving force will probably be self-belief' From experience, I know it makes a difference.'

Speaking about Pakistan, which suffered a 201-run defeat in the first Test versus Sri Lanka, Imran said: 'Well, till the ongoing Test (Karachi), we seemed to be having the same problem as India ' not getting runs' For that, I won't blame (coach) Bob Woolmer, who is doing a fine job'

'I'm happy, though, the selectors have brought back Younis Khan' Looking back, one reason why we lost the (Test) series to India is that they blundered by dropping him' Now, the selectors have made amends somewhat'

In Imran's opinion, the quality of batsmen won't improve till the wickets get better. Essentially, mediocre wickets are going to produce mediocre batsmen.

That holds true for both sides of the border'

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