Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev rated Pakistan’s Imran Khan as the best leader amongst all during his era, as the Pakistani team was not the easiest to handle on the field.
According to Kapil, “(Richard) Hadlee was by far the better bowler amongst us, (Ian) Botham the best batsman, and Imran Khan was the best leader… I mean handling those (Pakistani) guys. I told him before you handle your country, handle your team. He was also the better all-rounder. But I was best athlete amongst all.”
The legendary all-rounder further rated West Indies’ duo of Viv Richards, Michael Holding and Pakistan’s Wasim Akram as the top class cricketers he had ever seen in cricket history.
However, Kapil said that England’s opener Geoffrey Boycott was the most difficult batsman for a bowler. He said, “He (Boycott) used to tire our bowlers. He was like Ravi Shastri who used to do a similar job for us.”
During the 1980s, cricket had produced some of the finest all-rounders ever and there was a stiff competition amongst them, as each wanted to do better than the other.
However, Imran’s mental strength made him one of the finest leaders in the history of cricket. He came out of retirement to lead a young Pakistan side in the 1992 World Cup and achieved what no one could have predicted before the start of the Mega Event.
The Men in Green had quite a few youngsters in the side such as Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Moin Khan, Aamer Sohail and Inzamam-ul-Haq. All had plenty of talent, but needed proper guidance to cope up with pressure of performing in a Mega Event.
The leadership they required was provided by Imran, as he fought bravely until the end of the tournament.