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Imran Khan’s Sporting Knowledge Turned Out To Be A Myth

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Chaanan Shah says PM Imran Khan’s failure to revive cricket, hockey and other sports in the country means his sporting knowledge has turned out to be a myth.

Pakistani sports industry suffered irretrievable losses during last one and a half decades – mainly due to crippling terrorist activities in the country. Successive governments failed to rebuild the sports structure after Pakistan became no-go area for international sports stars, where sports related workforce became the real causality.

During 2018 elections, people related to different fields of performing art, and not just sports, pinned their hopes high on Prime Minister Imran Khan as they thought being an ex-sportsman himself, he would be fully cognizant of their issues. It looked plausible as sport is an art and the player is the artist, they thought no one can represent them better than him.

People belonging to performing art industries believed Almighty was exceptionally kind to them and had sent them a Messiah in the guise of Mr Imran Khan to redeem them from despair.

Generally, artists and players prefer to remain apolitical and decline to voice their political views in public but during ’18 elections they came out manifestly campaigning for PTI, with mountain of hopes and ocean of dreams. Reason was that art and sports industries were in crunch, which they even today are. And the perception was that only a former player can understand the significance of keeping art industries afloat.

They thought that the newly-installed government would take everything by storm and things would start improving, forthwith. This joy was very short-lived and the first shocker came when Pakistan took on India in the SAFF Cup semi-final and sports enthusiasts were simply dying to watch that mouth-watering game.

Pakistan Television came up with their chronic apathy and declined to procure the broadcasting rights of the tournament. Young fans took to Twitter and just drilled Fawad Chaudhry’s inbox with requests to televise at least the semifinal, but all in vain.

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Later, hockey world cup met similar destiny and only very few matches were televised. On the other side, football fans were also pretty upbeat that government run by an ex sportsman would restore football activities in the country. But their bubble was also burst swiftly as the government exhibited absolutely no interest in the revival of the game of soccer.

Pakistan Football Federation’s infighting led to the suspension of the federation and the expectations were that the PTI government would settle the issue once and for all. It was expected that those associated with the business of football who suffered during last few years would be back to their jobs, but it did not happen.

Imran Khan-led government manifested such nonchalance that left everyone flabbergasted because no-one expected them to be this naive and ignorant about sports related woes.

The national sport, hockey, could not be revived either. This sport was in desperate need of attention but it was also left ignored – so much so that even the secretary of Hockey Federation resigned citing lack of government interest.

Surprisingly enough, Prime Minister could spare time to felicitate Indian cricketer Virat Kohli but didn’t have time for Pakistan hockey. Hockey is in such a bad shape that the foreign coach resigned saying “environment wasn’t conducive for work” and the performance of the hockey team was just disastrous as they finished humiliating 12th, couldn’t win even a single game, scored only 2 goals after playing all the 4 matches and conceded 12.

Even this embarrassment failed to budge Imran Khan a wee bit and we haven’t seen even a single tweet from him on hockey, let alone working up to taking some concrete steps towards developing a proper organizational structure. This is prerequisite for any sport to flourish.
He himself has always been vicious critic of Pakistan Cricket Board and their policies but what did he do to change it as PM?

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He installed Mr Ehsan Mani as the PCB Chairman. He is a gentleman but the downside is that he remained detached from Pakistani domestic cricket and knows little about the intricacies and the requirements of Pakistani cricketing structure.

The PM had the best option available in Mohsin Khan, the man of commitment, integrity and insight. But he avoided to take the better option and his decision left even his staunch supporters stunned. He looks all set to drop a bombshell on Pakistani cricket by abolishing departmental cricket in the country which is going to be catastrophic for young budding cricketers as their financial security cover would be ripped off. 
I feel pity for those who believe Imran Khan would bring stability in this country. Anyone with a trace of commonsense can realize that if a man knows nothing about his own “realm” where he spent ages in gaining expertise, how could he be master of something which is way beyond his league, like finance, national security etc.? One thing very basic to understand, if he had some sporting acumen, how could he have left them just forsaken? If had some knowledge, he must have interest as well – simple as that.

Or if someone argues how an ex-player can be so sports-nescient? If you believe this and you may also have to believe that he is knowingly undermining the sports structure in this country. 

Those who voted and supported him during ’18 elections are searching for a place to hide themselves, in embarrassment and frustration as they don’t have anyone else to blame for his incompetence. They can neither defend Imran Khan’s policies on sports nor their decision of voting him into power so the only thing they can do is shy away from saying anything on the matter.

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Naya Daur