So what if Imran Khan picked India?
Khan's statement about India and Dhoni have nothing to do with national pride!
I respectfully disagree with Muhammad Khanani’s post “Where is Imran Khan’s patriotism?” in which he criticises former cricketer Imran Khan’s for predicting that the Indian team will gain World Cup victory and stating that Indian cricketer Dhoni was the “best player”.
Khan picked India because they seem to be in good form to win the World Cup. Undoubtedly, as Pakistanis we all want our team to win. However, saying that South Africa, Australia or any other country may win based on the team's recent performances is not wrong. This is not a show of Khan’s indifference towards Pakistan.
During the World Cup 2003 in South Africa, Pakistan played against England and analysts speculated the outcome of the match. Before the match, former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar answered this question by saying:
“My heart says Pakistan will win because they (the English) ruled us for many years, but my mind says England because they seem to be a balanced side right now.”
Hence, it is not unusual for players to make predictions before a tournament.
Undermining Team Green's confidence
To some extent, I agree that picking Pakistan instead of India could have boosted our team’s morale. But this does not mean that Pakistan will now suffer from an inferiority complex.
Afridi’s boys are not dependent on Khan’s statements alone. The thing they needed most before the World Cup was their victory against New Zealand. This important win came at a time when Pakistan cricket is surrounded with controversies.
The fact that they managed to beat New Zealand despite the crises shows that nothing can undermine the team's confidence and that they will not take Khan’s statement to heart.
Moreover, even if the whole world is picking countries other than Pakistan, our lions in green will still go on the ground in high spirits and unleash hell on their opposition. No matter who the pick is, when it comes to unpredictability, Pakistan is always the winner.
Khan's comment about Dhoni
No matter what country you are from, there are some players whom everyone loves to watch. Sachin Tendulkar. Jacques Kallis and Shahid Afridi are players that have fans all over the world. People have also praised Micheal Hussey as a match winner and said Collingwood is tough when the team is in a crisis.
If Tendulkar is asked whom he thinks is the best fast bowler he has ever played, he will definitely say Wasim Akram. Does this mean that he has no jazba for his team?
M S Dhoni is a good player and the best wicket keeper India has ever had. The way he has united his players is commendable.
Khan’s statement about Dhoni being the best player doesn’t mean that his love for his home country is lacking. Imran Khan has already proven his jazba with his brilliant captaincy when he took Pakistan to victory in the 1992 World Cup.
Imran Khan’s words are honest and match his actions - he too, has a right to have opinions.