The year is 1990. The venue is the Sydney Cricket Ground. Clad in the colourful lime green attire — thanks to Mr Kerry Packer and the much-needed attractiveness he brought into cricket — is Imran Khan, running in to bowl the first delivery of the game’s last over against Australia. With four runs needed of six balls, the Australians are hands down the favourites to clinch victory. But as so often in his career, Imran Khan has something else in store. He swings one ball in and then another out- bamboozling the batsmen, ultimately bringing it down to the last delivery. For this last one, he bowls this one quick, follows the batsmen like any smart bowler should do and makes the batsmen miss. And that’s it, Pakistan wins the game. These were days when Imran was in the twilight of his career, but most evidently had not lost touch as an exceptional bowler, and also as the ladies would tell you — he still carried those charming looks complemented with those dark wavy hair. Coming to point, for those who have followed Imran Khan, he has always been somewhat of an enigma — brash at times, overwhelmingly arrogant, and a lady-charmer. But there is something more to Imran Khan that I feel needs to be addressed particularly given the fact that he is on the verge of becoming the prime minister of a country that has a blemished reputation outside, burgeoning potential inside, and has been, for the most part, run by thugs and thieves disguised as honourable people. Over the past two decades, ever since the London playboy entered politics, he has gone through a metamorphosis — going from being a superstar cricketer and lady-charmer to more of a religious man. During this time, he has also taken the brunt of the criticism from both international media and local Pakistani media. So much so, that certain sections of media and press have given him the nickname of ‘Taliban Khan’. But there is something about Imran Khan I think most of us do not know, particularly these half-liberal commentators in the Pakistani press and media. Not to go off on a tangent, but most of these commentators are either Khan’s contemporaries or grew up into adolescence during a time when Imran Khan was this superstar, and more importantly an incorrigible playboy. Despite whatever others might say, I feel the crux of their idealistic critique of Imran carries a hint of jealousy. If he was to curb the lavish ways of the spoiled politicians and the bloated bureaucracy he will most definitely face a backlash and is most certainly going to create more enemies for himself, including a Brutus or two What they perhaps know and yet fail to recognise is that Pakistan’s new prime minister despite having lived a very colourful and often contradictory life is an introvert. Now, I don’t know Imran Khan personally, but I remember watching videos from the past when on countless occasions in his younger days, when pestered about whether he would consider a career in movies, he would say that he was too much of an “introvert” to do anything of that sort. In a more recent interview, when asked how many friends he had — the past international socialite replied that he merely has six friends. Imran Khan’s victory speech, though not perfect, was a fair reflection of where he wants to take the country. While on the campaign trail he resorted to realist politics and did all that was essential to get the seat. He angered many and alienated a few of his oldest and staunchest supporters. Having said that, I hope that the introverted Khan, now realises that he faces one of the toughest tasks of his life. One that is perhaps even more daunting than defending four runs in the last over of a cricket game. He must live up to at least few of the promises he has highlighted in his victory speech. If he was to curb the lavish ways of the spoiled politicians and the bloated bureaucracy he will most definitely face a backlash and is most certainly going to create more enemies for himself, including a Brutus or two. He will have to sniff tactfully for dangers, pitfalls, and ploys. Whatever is going on in his head, the charmer introvert has struggled hard for this seat, now let’s see if he can walk the talk. The writer is Graduate Student at Cornell University in the US, he can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 9th 2018.