Canada’s Cheema a fan of Imran Khan


HAMBANTOTA – Swashbuckling Canadian batsman Rizwan Cheema said Sunday he is a huge fan of Pakistan great Imran Khan, setting his sights on emulating the World Cup-winning skipper. Imran, who lifted the World Cup for Pakistan in 1992, was one of the world’s top all-rounders in a golden era alongside Ian Botham of England, India’s Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee of New Zealand.
After retiring from cricket Imran went into politics and heads his own Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party in Pakistan. “The only hero in my life is Imran, since I was born. I have met him but a very basic interaction. His captaincy, approach to the game and the way he presents himself,” Pakistan-born Cheema said.
“Whenever I watch him on television and the way he speaks, I am enamoured and want to emulate him if I ever get a chance,” said Cheema, who admitted Canada could not compete with cricket’s big guns at the World Cup.
“We are just working hard for almost a year now preparing for this event,” said Cheema about the Canada team, playing their fourth World Cup. “Hopefully we will do well and look forward to it, trying to win at least three games and that is our goal. Realistically, we’re not going to win the World Cup but we are trying to make sure we reach the second round,” he said. Cheema hit the headlines even before the tournament started, with a quickfire 93 against England in a warm-up match last week before England squeaked home by 16 runs.
“It was great to be among the runs. It would have been even nicer had we beaten England, but I did what I like the most — hit the ball out of the park,” said Cheema, who has played 21 one-day internationals for his adopted country. Cheema said freezing weather was an impediment to Canada’s preparations for major cricket events, limiting chances to play outdoors.
Cheema said he was aiming to reach three figures against the country of his birth.
“I want to score a hundred, maybe against Pakistan in this World Cup,” said Cheema, whose team faces Pakistan in Colombo on March 3.