Red Force leg-spinner Imran Khan hints that 2024 West Indies Championship could be his last

By Sports Desk January 02, 2024
Imran Khan. Imran Khan.

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force leg-spinner Imran Khan has hinted that the 2024 West Indies Championship could be his last.

A stalwart in regional cricket, the 39-year-old Khan has played 113 first-class matches, taking 450 wickets, a milestone he achieved in the final game of the 2023 West Indies Championship against Jamaica Scorpions at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.

Khan also had 71 wickets in 53 List A games. With the bat, Khan has 3,622 runs with a lone century of 125. He also has a half-century in List A cricket.

Asked if he was thinking about the time he has left in the game, “I haven’t set a time frame to step away,” was his response in an interview with the Trinidad Express recently.

“I’m still fit and wanting to play. I’ve always put Trinidad and Tobago cricket first for many decades however, I know the time will come soon for me to step down to make way for younger players, but I’ll still like to be around to share my experience and knowledge,” he said.

Khan made his first-class debut as an opening batsman in 2005 and was part of the 2006 T&T squad that won the regional first-class competition, the last time the country has done so to date.

“In 2024, I am looking forward to the four-day and possibly another Super50 tournament, maybe my last, and of course maintaining my fitness and ensuring that I continue to pass each fitness test will be key,” he said.

Despite his regional success, Khan never represented the West Indies at the highest level and accepts that, at 39, that dream is likely over.

“I guess the dream playing for West Indies is over, safe to say...but I’ll like to be around to share my knowledge. Now I’ll like to explore more franchise cricket. Clearly, I have what it takes to perform,” he said.

“Yes, I have achieved being one of the best all-rounders regionally; I have several accolades to prove that, but it always will hurt that I never got the opportunity to play for West Indies. I did everything required of me, but God has a better plan,” he added.

He most recently represented the Manipal Tigers in the Legends League T20 in India from November-December last year, taking nine wickets in five matches for the eventual champions.

Khan didn’t feature in the Super50 for the Red Force towards the end of 2024 and played four out of five matches for the franchise in the West Indies Championship at the start of the year, grabbing 13 wickets with a best of four for 47.

Off-spinner Bryan Charles was the top bowler for T&T in the four-day competition, taking 21 wickets in five matches.

“I wasn’t selected in the playing 11 for the first four-day game, but I used that to get mentally stronger, which showed in my performance with the bat and ball,” Khan explained.

Having missed the season opener, Khan scored 92, his 15th first-class half-century, against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes.

“I really wanted to score runs this year and I definitely did. Of course, not being selected for the squad for 50 overs was disappointing but I’m happy the team won,” said Khan.

“However, not being selected for that tournament, other doors opened...I had a great Legends League tournament finishing with most wickets and the title. I’ll say 2023 has been good to me,” he added.

 

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