Lahore: The Pakistan team management has invited Imran Khan to give the India-bound (Test) squad a pep talk on Sunday, a day before its departure for New Delhi.
'I've accepted the invitation and will speak for an hour... Besides strategy, I'm going to talk about what went wrong on our recent tour of Australia... I'll be looking back and ahead,' Imran informed.The Telegraph at his old Zaman Park residence late on Wednesday.
It was under Imran that Pakistan beat India at home in 1986-87... In any case, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain remains the most inspirational cricketer in these parts. Now, of course, he is a Member of the National Assembly from native Mianwali.
Incidentally, Imran intends having a one-on-one with Inzamam-ul Haq before interacting with the squad. That's going to be a continuation of their conversation at the inauguration of Reebok's first store in Pakistan, earlier in the evening.
'Yaad rakhna tere se alag baat karni hai,' Imran told the current captain. Inzy, who was 'depressed' by the icon's criticism of his approach in Australia, nodded reverentially.
Apparently, in the few minutes of privacy, Imran is understood to have clarified that his criticism was constructive. Also, that some quotes were 'taken out of context.'
Inzy seemed happy.
The multinational's franchisee, by the way, is Wasim Akram. And Imran travelled from Islamabad just to reciprocate the gestures made by him in the not-too-distant past.
'Whenever I asked Wasim to do something for the (Shaukat Khanum) Hospital, he readily agreed. So, I had to make an appearance on an important day for him... Wasim has begun a fresh innings and I'm very happy,' Imran pointed out.
Waqar Younis, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Malik, comeback man Arshad Khan, Azhar Mehmood, Bob Woolmer and Shaharyar Khan also turned up at the chic store in a shopping complex on the upmarket M.M.Alam Road.
Apart from Imran, predictably the cynosure, the glamour element was injected by Lollywood's Resham and Akram's wife Huma.
The ribbon-cutting by Akram's father Chaudhury Mohammed, though, had to be delayed because Inzy came 15 minutes late. Not that anyone really minded as it gave the invitees (Media included) more time with Imran.
Given that the tour is days away, Imran's comments were sought on Pakistan's prospects.
'At home, the advantage is with India and our biggest worry is who will get them out twice in a Test... Our team has to play spiritedly and not repeat the Test series performance seen in Australia... Losing is part of the game, capitulating isn't,' he remarked.
Asked whether appointing Waqar as bowling coach would help, Imran promptly answered: 'Fayda zaroor ho ga...' The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, isn't inclined to offer a long-term contract, as sought by Waqar.
Akram, for his part, maintained the India versus Pakistan face-off would be 'interesting.' In fact, in his opinion, Inzamam and the rest should do 'better' coming off such a hard tour ' Australia.
Speaking about becoming an entrepreneur, Akram said, smiling: 'It's not that I've got butterflies in the stomach ' after all, it's a new venture ' but it does feel a bit different...'
Next, the former captain intends opening an outlet in Karachi.