Surviving a sticky wicket: A Personal History by Imran Khan

Arifa Akbar in The Independent:

Immo It may seem like sporting profanity now but Imran Khan's cricketing debut was so inauspicious that it earned him the humiliating nickname, Imran Khan't. Four decades on, and still viewed as a national treasure for leading Pakistan's cricket team to its only World Cup victory in 1992, Khan recalls the Khan't moment. He draws parallels between the slow-burn success of first career and the early disappointments of his second, in Pakistani politics.

This book, an intelligently written mix of Pakistan's history and his own autobiography, reflects on the challenges that Khan faced in cricket and later, in his humanitarian work. The lessons learnt in his previous incarnations gave momentum to his entry into politics. Tahreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), the party he founded in 1996, has faced many humbling moments – winning no seats in the 1997 elections and one in 2002 – although it is now seen as a credible alternative to the government by many Pakistanis. A mix of personal disclosure and political analysis, the book works surprisingly well on both counts. He reflects on his sporting achievements (the rigours of test cricket become a metaphor for life), his marriage to ex-wife Jemima Khan and the strain of the hate campaign that his opponents built around her, as well as the cancer hospital he set up in memory of his late mother, and his spiritual awakening. There are quietly heroic moments, particularly in his descriptions of the courage shown by the poor while he fundraises for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, and also in the extraordinary determination he shows in 1992. He took his team to World Cup victory in spite of a secret injury that would have taken him out of the game, had he declared it. There are candid reflections too, including a half-hearted attempt to join Pakistan's arranged marriage circuit before meeting Jemima, and later, Jemima's encounter with a mystic who becomes Khan's religious guide, Mian Bahir. She is left wide-eyed as Bahir displays his visionary skills.

More here.