Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies
Imran Khan marks extra-special 100th with victory
T&T Red Force skipper tells how Brian Lara’s advice changed his career
Imran Khan, the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force captain, is delighted with his team’s showing in the first and second rounds of matches in the West Indies Championship four-day first-class tournament. The allrounder played a key role in both matches as the home team defeated Jamaica Scorpions and then Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
This marked a successful return of red ball cricket to the scene in the Caribbean. For Khan, it was extra-special as the second match was his 100th for his country at first-class level. The icing on the cake was his six wicket in the matches (2-3 and 4-38). Red Force sit on 38.6 points, second behind Barbados Pride who have 42.0 points following their two wins at Kensington Oval.
“I’m really proud of this achievement. Any cricketer would like to represent their country at this level for this amount of games so I think it’s something really good to achieve”, Khan told CWI Media.
Reflecting on his career which started as an opening batsman in 2005, Khan recalled how it was the legendary Brian Lara who made him eventually turn to full time leg-spin.
“To be honest I started and made my debut for Trinidad & Tobago as an opening batsman. I was not thinking of leg-spin or anything like that, I used to just be part time bowler in the nets. It was actually one day I was bowling to Brian Lara during the 2006 season in Barbados and I recall one afternoon he stepped to me afterwards and asked why I don’t take my bowling more seriously. So after hearing him tell me that, I began to focus and work on it (bowling more) and after a while, I started to make the Trinidad team as a bowler who could bat – so it all worked out well in the end.”
The 37-year-old has now played 107 first-class matches with the other seven being on West Indies “A” team duty. He has impressive figures of 433 wickets at an average of 22.81, including 25 five-wicket hauls and six 10-wicket hauls. He follows in the footsteps of other outstanding spinners from Trinidad & Tobago such as – Sonny Ramadhin (758 wicket at 20.24), Rangy Nanan (366 at 23.1), Raphick Jumadeen (347 at 27.91), Ishan Ali (328 at 28.93), Rajendra Dhanraj (295 wickets at 27.10), Dinanath Ramnarine (252 at 25.60) as well as Dave Mohammed (233 at 27.11).
Khan also noted that one of the highlights of his career was being part of the 2005/06 season when Trinidad & Tobago won the title. “That season when we won the championship with Brian Lara in the team will always be the biggest highlight more than any individual performances for me,” he said.