Imran Khan likely to invite Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar & Navjot Sidhu for Prime Ministerial swearing-in
What's the story
After the general elections in Pakistan on July 25, the country has a new Prime Minister in the erstwhile cricketing superstar, Imran Khan. With him all set to assume charge of his duties after the swearing-in on August 11, 2018, it looks like Khan himself is not the only legend from his profession who will be attending the event. Reports say that Indian cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Sidhu are a few cricketers who may attend the ceremony.
In case you didn't know...
Imran Khan has been involved in Pakistan politics for quite some time now, though this is the first time he is assuming a powerful role that will see him leading the nation, apart from cricket of course. As a neighbour to our nation, he has always maintained cordial relations with us both on the field and away from it, and has always shared a special bond with Kapil Dev, starting from the 1980s when they regularly made it to newspaper headlines for their cricketing efforts.
In 2016, Khan was the opposition leader in Pakistan, and at the same time, India were hosting the ICC T20I World Cup. In an important India-Pak group stage match at Kolkata, Khan was one of the most important attendees, after which he also attended a dinner-talk also including the likes of Kapil Dev.
Kapil Dev was also among the first people from the fraternity to send his accolades to Khan following his victory. "It felt really good to see a cricketer I had played alongside becoming Prime Minister of his own country," he had said. Another close acquaintance from India for Imran is Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also shared his joy at the news, calling him a "pure soul who led from the front", readily accepting the invite to the programme.
The Indian connections that Imran Khan possesses might definitely have catalyzed the new decision to attempt at inviting these cricketers over to the swearing-in ceremony.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party led by Imran Khan won the most seats in the elections, and being its leader makes Khan the new Prime Minister. The swearing-in is likely to happen on 11th August 2018. In his unofficial acceptance speech, he had lauded India and the nation's attempt to do good to the world, and the invite to some of his "professional colleagues" can be seen as an extension of the appreciation he has for the country. However, the invite attempts still remain stuck at a few roadblocks.
Fawad Chaudhry, the spokesperson Khan's PTI party has confirmed speculations of inviting the cricket stars, however, prior to actually sending out invites, he said that there was a need to inquire at the Foreign Office to see if foreign delegates could actually attend the event. If it is possible, the list of invitees from India could even increase, with the likely possibility of national heads like Narendra Modi the Indian PM to attend the event as well.
Imran Khan's entry into the new role is seen as a ray of hope by countless cricketing fans across either nations India and Pakistan, as it has been way too long since either side has toured the other, owing to all the political tensions that still stand strong. The two teams have engaged in some meaty encounters in the recent past as well, but all those were in ICC's international tournaments like the World Cups and the Champions Trophies.
And it has been so long since a Test has been played between the two nations, that in the current India side playing against England at Edgbaston, only Dinesh Karthik and Ishant Sharma has played with the red ball against Pakistan. Hopefully, situations will change for the better in the recent future.