KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Former Pakistan captain and this year's MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecturer, Imran Khan, says the current Pakistan team "need polishing".
Khan will give the tenth annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's on Monday 19 July 2010. The lecture will be webcast live on Lords.org (opens in a new window).
The talented former all-rounder is at Lord's this week to watch his native Pakistan take on Australia in the first neutral Test at Lord's for 98 years.
Khan's links with MCC President John Barclay played a major role in persuading him to give this year's lecture:
"I was approached by Johnny Barclay." Khan explained. "I happened to be here at this time. If it was not in the two weeks when my children were on holiday I would not have made it. Life in Pakistan is very busy at the moment - so the timing was good.
"And then, Johnny Barclay, he is my old Sussex colleague, I’ve known him for years - I like Johnny, he’s such an eccentric, so that’s why I agreed to do it."
"It’s very unusual for me to talk about cricket. I speak at a lot of events but that’s all politics now.
"Pakistan, as you know, is at the eye of the storm - everything is centred around Pakistan know, the war on terror. So that’s what I talk about. And I have a political party who, in my opinion, will form the next government, so that’s what I [usually] talk about.
"I think [the lecture will be about] the way the game’s changed - the positives and the negatives."
Khan played at the top level of cricket for more than two decades but the former Pakistan captain thinks the current team lack exposure to high quality cricket:
"Pakistan have always had talented, gifted players, I’ve always said that.
"Twenty20 is all about talent - hitting, natural ball playing. You don’t need that much of a temperament, you need to respond to pressure but you don’t need that same temperament you just need to hit the ball well.
"But when it comes to Test cricket, you need technique and temperament with the talent and that’s what we lack because we don’t have quality domestic cricket to polish that talent.
"So you find us having a disastrous winter in Test cricket but a brilliant winter in Twenty20 cricket."
'In a mess'
Now a politician, Khan also had a lot to say on the state of affairs in his home country:
"This is a sad state of affairs [Pakistan playing at Lord’s].
"We should have stayed neutral in this moronic war on terror. It’s created more terrorists, it has created more radicalisation. It has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
"But, unfortunately, we were not a democracy, we had a dictator - so Pakistan is in this unenviable position. We are stuck in someone else’s war and we have no control over it. We have no idea when it will end. It’s not just cricket that is affected it’s every sport, carnival - everything is affected.
"Because this is not Pakistan’s war it’s out of our control - it’s when the Americans decide to leave Afghanistan. Then we will go back to normal. Until then we’re in a mess."
Khan played a major role in some of Pakistan's finest years of cricket, captaining them to a World Cup win. He also has fond memories of the Home of Cricket:
"Winning a Lord’s Test Match - it was my first series as captain and we won the Test here at Lord’s. That was probably, at that time, one of my best memories.
"I didn’t play enough Tests here in my time, my ’87 was washed out, ’74 was washed out. I got my highest first-class - I got nine wickets in an innings here [for Sussex] against Middlesex."
Listen live to Imran Khan
Khan will give the tenth annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture at Lord's on Monday 19 July 2010. The lecture will be webcast live on Lords.org