the Great Khan (Part I) [ Members' Interviews]


Senior T20I Player
Jun 30, 2006
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an absolute pleasure to present this interview. The first part deals with Cricket, and the second covers life in general; but both parts are about the Great Khan - a valuable PakPassion member.

Here's the first instalment:

PP: What's the story behind your user name? Does the 'great' refer to you, or to some favourite personality of yours?
tGK: Multifaceted really. It is in honor of my grandfather whose surname was Khan; it is in honour of Imran Khan - my cricketing hero; and it is also in honour of Genghis Khan and his progeny who changed the face of Eurasia through their will and determination (and wanton slaughter but lets not talk about that part).

PP: Are you really a Pashto speaking Pathan?
tGK: Nope. My father is a Jatt-Rajput and my mother is a Jatt-Waraich, and am I am a descendant of Abdullah Bhatti - the legendary Punjabi folk hero who “robbed from the rich and gave to the poor” and who was caught and promptly hanged for his indiscretions and rebellion by Akbar the great. My wife is a Pashtun however so I have a soft spot for our crazy northern brethren.

PP: Is this the real TGK or a persona created for the net?
tGK: Now that would be telling, wouldn’t it! We all have many facets to our personalities but I can safely say TGK is a reasonably accurate persona, although there are some things I can say on PakPassion that I probably won’t say in the “real world” - only a few things though.

PP: What do you do for a living?
tGK: I am an Analyst in the public sector

PP: I remember reading some time ago that you were into martial arts. If so, how far did you take that hobby?
tGK: I trained on and off for about 4 years but haven’t done anything for the last two, and therefore have become fat and rusty. The speed and reactions are no longer there, and I just don’t have the time to practice anymore. Also my teacher suddenly died of a heart attack, and I haven’t had the heart to go back and study. I was on the way to learning BajiQuan (or bear style) - a martial art with Islamic roots. Alas it was not meant to be!

PP: Are your plans to move to North America still on track? If so what are the reason for relocating from the UK?
tGK: Those plans are still there but I have had to delay them for a few years as I study new options here in the UK. Some career opportunities have arisen that may ultimately keep me here for a lot longer but my options are open and I am still researching things. It is a major life changing decision and I don’t want to just rush into it. Let’s see how things develop. Suffice it to say the brothers on PakPassion will be the first to know. As for why I want to move, well I’m worried about the state of mind of this nation. I can see it deteriorating steadily. The rise of racism/fascism in some quarters, and the sheer and utter ignorance within the education system. Some of the people running things in the public sector make Ijaz Butt look like a genius! Nepotism and sifarish are rife, and corruption is increasing.

PP: Do you play cricket or are just a follower of the game? If you play, where and how often is it?
tGK: Used to play a lot in Pakistan - classic gully muhalla tape ball stuff, and school hardball cricket. Then returning to the UK I played for college, and my local team, and then my staff team at work. Haven’t raised my bat in anger now for three years however, so I’m on a hiatus like Younis Khan. I’m trying to start again in the summer for my staff team at work just for a laugh. Hope I last more than four overs.

PP: Are you left-handed or right-handed? Batting? Bowling?
tGK: Right handed on both accounts, and was an all-rounder batting at number 6. Then moved up to 5 and became a nuggety player holding up the innings while disaster struck around me. Used to bowl fast/medium but my speed deteriorated and then I just concentrated on my batting. Amazingly I started off as an off spinner in tape ball cricket!

PP: Who is your favourite player, and why?
tGK: My favourite cricketers of the past are:

1) Imran Khan
2) Viv Richards
3) Waqar Younis
4) Wasim Akram
5) Javed Miandad
6) Inzimamul Haq
7) Graham Gooch
8) Steve Waugh
9) Brian Lara
10) Abdul Qadir

From the current lot (in no particular order):

1) Younis Khan
2) Muhammad Yousuf
3) Muhammad Asif
4) Strauss
5) Graeme Smith
6) Hashim Amla
7) Deyl Steyn
8) Saeed Ajmal
9) Ricky Ponting
10) Shahid Afridi

PP: Are you a member of either the Afridi fan club or the Akhtar fan club? If yes, then why? If not, then why not?
tGK: I have to confess I am a beastologist through and through. No cricketer can match the utter mental dysfunction that Afridi engenders in his fans and those around him. The sheer might of the mighty wielder of ultimate insane destruction and mayhem rends asunder reality, time and space. Akhtar is a mere spec and insignificant stain on the notion of Pakistan cricket and greatness embodied by the Prince of Cricket Destruction, namely Shahid Khan Afridi.

I hope that answers your question satisfactorily.

PP: What is your favourite thing about Pakistan cricket and what's your least favourite?
tGK: The sheer natural talent that just explodes and shakes the high and mighty from their mundane boredom is what I like about Pakistan cricket. No team can ever turn things around in a mere flash like these guys can. I just marvel at the talent Allah (swt) has blessed us with, because with the system we have we shouldn’t even be able to field 11 players.

About what I hate: the sheer and utter callous disregard for the value of the green shirt! The way management and “senior” players continue to ride roughshod over the legacy that Hanif, Imran, Miandad and others fought hard for. Also one thing that really bugs me is the tabka that just shouts “fixed” whenever we lose. I just hate that slogan!

PP: What do you think about the present and future of Pakistan cricket?
tGK: I could write a thesis on this one but I’ll keep it short. The present: one word - painful. It just boils my blood when I can see what’s wrong with the team and how easy it is to fix, yet am powerless to do anything about it. All we need is some brave souls to make some hard decisions. The decisions are obvious but hard. However they must be made for the betterment of our team and cricket, or we will continue to suffer. For starters, drop Malik and all other under-performers and don’t pick has-been bowlers and batsmen over and over again.

As for the future, well I’m optimistic. I think once we have enough Test matches under our belt we will become a hard team to beat. Playing away series will harden our players like never before. There is so much talent in Pakistan that we will always be a force as long as we give the talent a chance. T20, I’m not worried about; ODIs, we can beat anyone anytime, Tests, we need stability and matches.

PP: Why do you think Pakistan has had so many great fast bowlers & fewer batsmen of that quality, while for India the opposite has been true?
tGK: Well I’m no expert so take my observations with a pinch of salt. But I think it’s the mentality, physique, climate, and conditions. In India the emphasis for batsmen is on technique, practice, an almost arithmetic obsession with batting properly. Also the nature of the pitches, the physique of Indian players who are wristy, nimble and probably grow up playing in hot weather in maidans, so endurance and stamina also play a part. Also the environment and food that is eaten is different in both countries. Indians seem less afraid of 8 hours of batting practice than we are. As for my brethren well they have a more carefree, caution to the wind, ‘Allah ki marzi’ type of mentality. We can be lazy but imaginative at the same time and marzi kay maalik. That sense of independence that created Pakistan is reflected in the way we play. Why do we have more fast bowlers? Well many have had theories about why we produce more fast bowlers and it’s probably a combination of factors - tape ball cricket, physique, food, climate, role models, you name it. I’d hate to guess but maybe Allah has just blessed us? Or am I not allowed to say that? :)

PP: What are your views on the Afridi vs. Younis story?
Probably some truth mixed in with masala. I’m sure something went on but whatever it was has deprived us of a potentially good captain.

PP: You get a call and the voice at the other end says, "Hi, I am Sambit Bal. I understand you wanted to tell me something." What do you tell him?
tGK: “Hey Sambit I’m running lessons on how to write good English articles that wont be used as toilet paper. I reckon you could do worse than attend.”

PP: What are your top three cricketing memories?
tGK: Aha, good question. Well let’s see now - too many to choose from but I’ll try:

1. Sharjah and Miandad’s six. Oh what a glorious day that was! The coming of age of Pakistan cricket and the sheer utter domination of our lovely parosees that resulted from that fateful day. Joy and happiness reigned for many years.

2.1992 World cup. I’ll never ever forget that day. Got my O level result, so joy and sadness on the same day! I’ll never forget the winning catch and the Khan raising the trophy. What a great moment! And then the reaction of everyone in Islamabad, Pindi, and the rest of the country! Was a great day to be a Pakistani.

3. Test series vs. England in 1992 - the year I turned my back on English cricket forever. The sheer utter devastation that Wasim and Waqar brought and the brilliant Alec Stewart’s 190 were memorable moments. Truly historical stuff!

PP: I can tell from your insight and knowledge that you have been following Pakistan cricket for a long time. What do you feel is the major reason why Pakistan is not setting the world cricket stage ablaze like it did in years gone by?
tGK: Very straight forward really: no one is willing to make hard choices without fear. It’s that simple! However I disagree with us not setting the world ablaze. The moment we get onto that pitch anything can happen. The biggest problem we have is a weak system especially domestic cricket. They’ve changed the format so many times it’s not funny anymore. Why not just stick to a format and then review it every 10 years or so? Why change almost every year? And then the scheduling and planning is just pathetic. Why can’t they schedule in the T20 cup properly, or the ODI tournament? I think the fact that our education system is so weak means we produce so many jahil administrators who actually think they know what they are doing!

If it was up to me, I would set the number of teams in the QED and sort everything out from top to bottom. I would only allow the best players to play in the highest tier of cricket which would be QED tier 1; tier 2 would be for up and comers and would act almost as a feeder league for the highest tier. I would not change the corporate involvement; actually I would try and increase it. The top tier would be our best players in corporate teams while tier 2 would be regions. Below that I would initiate a full program of university cricket tournaments and school cricket. I would also send consultants to the US to examine how they promote sport within their schools and universities and use the lessons learnt to do the same in Pakistan. I would also revamp club cricket so that Universities and clubs would play against each other and produce cricketers who can then go up the system. Along with this I would initiate a program to create a pool of elite coaches that would be sent everywhere to learn from the best and then come and teach our people. These people would then be dispersed into the schools, universities, clubs etc to work on the grass roots. I could go on and on but I might just write something for PakPassion to really detail my thoughts on the matter. It’s time we stopped yapping and actually did something: maybe the first PakPassion review of the domestic cricket scene in Pakistan. With Saj’s contacts I reckon someone influential might read it!

To be continued (watch this space).
Many thanks to tGK for taking out time for this interview.
TGK, like his favourite Shahid Afridi produces some posts resulting from a rush of blood which cause many to demand his ommission from the squad and then he produces some absolute beauties which prolong his fan following and merit him a place in the all time legends.
Woohoo my question made it in! :D
glad everyone enjoyed that...wait for part 2 guys ask some tough