The man who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title is now the chief executive of the entire nation. Imran Khan hosted the Pakistani squad selected to represent the country at ODI cricket's biggest event. According to reports, the former captain spent nearly an hour talking to the selected players and gave them plenty of advice.
We don't know whether Khan keeps an eye on the cricket being played these days but there are some eternal pearls of wisdom that the country's Prime Minister can present to the current crop, based on his own experience of winning the World Cup in 1992.
Importance of self-belief
Imran Khan went into the 1992 World Cup with a conviction that he will take home the trophy. In a television show, Ramiz Raja talked about how he and other teammates of his were amazed at their captain's confidence even when they were on the verge of being knocked out. But it was this belief that eventually powered Pakistan beyond the hurdles and to the title. Having this self-belief would be necessary for the current Pakistan team also.
Trusting young talent
One area where Imran's captainship shone most brightly was his nurturing of young talent. It was at this World Cup that Inzamam-ul-Haq first came into prominence and where Wasim Akram made the world take notice of him. The current Pakistan team has no dearth of young talent also. If these players are promoted half as well as Imran did youngsters of his time, Pakistan would be serious contenders.
Not going down without a fight
Over the years, Pakistan have been notorious for having one of the weakest lower orders in world cricket. At a time when batsmen batting lower down the order have been contributing more and more, Pakistan's batsmen, no 8 onwards, have tried to back away and attempt big strokes. This is something Imran hated. Before the famous West Indies tour of 1988, Imran had announced that anyone who shows fear of the ball would be sent home. Such intolerance for lack of fight would serve the current team also.
Leading from the front
In the final of the 1992 World Cup, Imran Khan batted at no. 3. This may seem like a normal thing today because of batting-friendly conditions but in those days required great skill. This was an example of the captain leading from the front. The current Pakistan side is not blessed with a captain that has the same level of skill but Sarfaraz has spunk and doggedness. If he has an opportunity to lead by example, he has to take it. Maybe, batting higher up the order in a difficult situation is just what he needs. This would also silence the doubts about his place in the team.
Managing fast bowlers
One of the most famous stories of the 1992 World Cup was how Akram was encouraged by his captain to bowl fast. The left-arm seamer revealed in several interviews that he was bothered by the problem of bowling too many extras and thought about cutting down his pace. Then, he saw an interview of his captain where the latter stated that he wants his young pacer to bowl as fast as he can, despite the wides and no-balls. This relieved Akram and he delivered his best. Pakistan have two teenagers in their team, one of them known to bowl at high speeds. Perhaps Sarfaraz can take a cue from his illustrious predecessor in how to manage fast bowlers.