On Thursday, former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan inched closer to power with the results of the country’s general election showing a massive lead by his party – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Even though the party of his jailed rival Nawaz Sharif rejected the eventual result as “blatantly” rigged but the Pakistani Election Commission rubbished the charges, and blamed a delay in the results on technical failures.
Imran’s camp was increasingly confident about a clear consensus, but it still appeared likely to fall short of a clear majority in the National Assembly. Voting for the elections – the only second democratic transition of power in its coup-studded history. More or less, the victory seems to be just a formality for Imran, several former cricket legends have wished Mr. Khan as he heads towards victory.
Renowned all-rounder Shahid Afridi were among the first to wish the 65-year old for his impressive showing in the general elections. Afridi wrote on his Twitter handle, “Congrat PTI and @ImranKhanPTI on a truly historic victory! The 22 yr old struggle has finally paid off & deservedly. Pakistanis have a lot of expectations from u I really hope u lead from the front! I request all opposing parties& media to accept the result and help rebuild.”
World’s most fearsome pacer and another icon of Pakistan cricket – Shoaib Akhtar wrote, “This is the result of 22 years of conviction , relentless efforts , determination and not giving up! Congratulations @ImranKhanPTI You have done it!!!”
During his playing days, Imran was a part of the golden quartet of all-rounders along with India’s Kapil Dev, England’s Ian Botham and New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee, who swayed millions every time they took to the field. Khan had also lead Pakistan to their historical World Cup triumph in 1992 at Melbourne.
Known for his great swing bowling, Imran took 362 wickets in 88 Tests at a brilliant average of 22.81 and a strike rate of 53.7.