Philanthropist. Cricket star. Prime Minister. 1 legendary man. This is the larger than life story of Imran Khan.
Imran Khan was born in Lahore, Pakistan but grew up in London. He attended Oxford, where he excelled in:
At Oxford, Imran made his debut for the Pakistan national cricket team. But he played terribly, and England crushed Pakistan. The media questioned how Imran even made the team. "I was so angry and humiliated. I vowed I would prove them wrong."
Imran’s career, plagued with injuries, could have ended in the early 1980s:
- Broken shin bone
- Chronic knee issues
But Khan refused to let injury or lack of extraordinary talent stop him from becoming an international cricket superstar.
His work ethic became legend. Take it from his teammates:
- "He was a crazy man in training."
- "Even a horse doesn’t run as much as Imran Khan does."
Imran’s drive took him from average to exceptional.
Over a 20 year career, Khan:
- Became the fastest bowler in the world
- Achieved the all-rounder's triple (3000 runs & 300 wickets) in 75 Tests, the second-fastest ever
But his greatest accomplishment came in his last match.
In 1992, Khan captained Pakistan to the World Cup final against the favorite - England. Pakistan won by 22 runs, with Imran scoring 72 by himself. To this day, it's Pakistan's only World Cup title.
Retiring as the most popular man in Pakistan, Khan could have done anything. Instead, he turned to politics. But not with one of the country’s traditional parties. He founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, the country's third political party.
Paralleling his international cricket career, Imran struggled early in politics. His party lost all seats in the 1997 election and won only 1 in 2002. He was mocked - the country’s cricket star turned political failure. And it got worse…
In 2008, Imran boycotted the elections. He tore up his own nomination papers in protest of pre-poll rigging. Suddenly, Khan and his party had lost their few seats in Parliament. But he refused to give up.
In 2011, Imran organized a jalsa in his hometown. The ruling parties dismissed it as a desperate attempt by a dying party. They were wrong. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis came to hear from Imran Khan.
His party caught fire. They won more seats in 2013 than in the prior 20 years combined. Then, in 2018, the unthinkable happened - Imran Khan was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan - an office he still serves in.
Outside of sports & politics, Imran focuses on philanthropy. He funded Pakistan's first cancer hospital in 1994 in honor of his mother. The best part? It's treated over 600,000 patients.
We often think success in any area of life - sport, school, business - comes purely from ability. But Imran Khan proves a relentless work ethic and unshakeable self belief are just as valuable. No matter what you think of him, that’s incredible.
Bonus Fact: Imran Khan founded Namal College in 2008. He envisions it as the Oxford of Pakistan, drawing inspiration from his alma mater.