Dont be fooled by what you read in the press and hear in the media. In Pakistan it was decided long ago that he can do no wrong. He took those 12 wickets in Sydney, bowled that immortal afternoon spell of reverse swing in Karachi, stared the West Indies down on their home turf, led the cornered tigers in 1992. In short, he ushered Pakistan cricket into its golden era. And then there is the man. As any number of women would say, just look at him.You would think this makes Imran Khan an irresistible biography subject - and youd be right. There are very few autobiographies of Pakistani cricketers, and fewer biographies. Imran has become the focus now of a second worthy book (after Ivo Tenants Imran Khan, which appeared in 1994). The latest effort is by Christopher Sandford, a seasoned biographer who has previously tackled Godfrey Evans and Tom Graveney in addition to an august list from the world of music and film.It is not strictly a cricket book, because Imran is not just a cricketer. There is naturally a great deal of cricket in it, but it is so seamlessly interwoven with general experiences of the human condition that this book can be read with equal enjoyment by die-hard fans and casual followers alike. Indeed, Imran transcended cricket in that many people with little interest in the game found themselves absorbed by his public image and personality. This book will appeal to them too.Sandford succeeds in his essential biographical task, which is to conduct an enquiry into the making of the Imran Khan phenomenon. The research and sources are extensive, complemented by a solid bibliography. The prose, engaging and conversational throughout, is at times even riveting. Imran cooperated and is the first in a long list of acknowledgments.Delicious nuggets are buried here and there. Asif Iqbal pockets serious cash from Kerry Packer at 100-1 odds in a World XI vs West Indies WSC match. Imran floors Zaheer Abbas with a bouncer in a county match against Gloucestershire after being egged on by his Sussex team-mates, and immediately loses his aggression to become full of empathy. A novice political reporter asks Imran the politician in the middle of a hysterical campaign rally if he has ever seen anything like it before, and Imran quietly answers that yes, he has.Imrans utter focus and devotion to the given task at hand - be it cricket, politics, or social welfare - is well known and understood. But Sandford provides a nuanced picture of a shy yet restless soul brimming with self-belief, who is as concerned with substance and meaning as he is self-conscious about image and style. Imran is vividly characterised for his fiercely independent Pathan streak, his bristling sensitivity towards any hint of colonial condescension, and his successful exorcism of Pakistan crickets post-colonial inferiority complex. Yet paradoxically he is also totally at home in British culture. Sandford presents this as not merely a post-colonial but in fact a post-modern phenomenon: Imran does have complete comfort and ease in even the most rarefied levels of British society, but it is without any sense of superiority. The English, for their part, cannot have enough of him. An unstated subtext running throughout Sandfords narrative is that the English would love nothing more than to claim Imran as one of their own.There are a few disappointments. In January 1977, Imran took 6 for 63 and 6 for 102 in Sydney to record Pakistans first Test win in Australia. It marked him as the first Asian in the cadre of true fast bowlers, and the victory has been described by Javed Miandad - Imrans sometimes dysfunctional partner in the making of modern Pakistani cricket, as Sandford puts it - as a crucial watermark in the nations cricket psyche. Sandford makes short work of this match, disposing of it in barely a paragraph. This is in contrast to page upon page devoted to obscure county games and to arcane proceedings such as Imran leaving Worcestershire and signing on with Sussex. Sandford does identify a watershed in Pakistan cricket, but places it two years later, in Karachi against India. But Karachi 1978 was just a jingoistic celebration compared to Sydney 1977, which with all its symbolism was the true awakening.As the book moves into Imrans contemporary life, you keep expecting to read a dissection of his failings, but it never comes. Sandford accepts that Imran is marginalised in Pakistans national politics, but also argues that he is better off for it. Yes, he has an obstinate side, but that just makes him a formidable proposition. And true, he may not have succeeded as a broadcaster, but an obscure poll is cited, which ranks him as the games fourth most popular celebrity commentator. These judgments finally reveal Sandfords hand as an admiring scribe. Not that you can blame him, of course. Everybody admires Imran Khan, and those that dont are lying. Indeed, in politics as in cricket, Imran receives a great deal of unspoken credit for insisting on stepping out of his comfort zone. Sandfords treatment has done him justice. Imran Khan: The Cricketer, The Celebrity, The Politician Christopher Sandford Harpercollins, 384pp, ￡20 Cheap Custom Jerseys From China . The Celtics closed out their first preseason under Stevens on Wednesday night with a 101-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, who rested a lot of their lineup including former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Wholesale Custom Jerseys Free Shipping . Deulofeu injured a muscle in his right leg in Evertons 4-1 win over Fulham in the English Premier League on Saturday. Barcelona says that its team doctors will "co-ordinate" with Evertons medical staff as Deulofeu recovers. http://www.customjerseyschina.com/ . 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NEW YORK -- Dont tell the Philadelphia Phillies that late September games dont matter to teams not in contention.The Phillies battled the New York Mets at every opportunity and had the NL East rivals just two-outs from a fourth consecutive loss on two different occasions, but the young Philadelphia bullpen was unable to complete the task.Jose Reyes hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run drive in an 11th-inning comeback to lift the Mets to a dramatic 9-8 win over the Phillies on Thursday night that kept the Mets tied for the NL wild-card lead.This was the toughest loss of the season, Mackanin added. Our guys did a great job offensively. We should have had them. We just made a lot of bad pitches and let them right back in.The Mets used 27 players, including 10 pitchers, to win a struggle that took 4 hours, 23 minutes.Thats the thing about September, Mackanin added. They have a lefty for every righty I bring in and vice versa and thats what makes it so difficult.Philadelphia went ahead 8-6 in the 11th when A.J. Ellis hit an RBI single off Jeurys Familia and Jim Henderson (2-2) walked Maikel Franco with the bases loaded.Pinch-hitter Michael Conforto walked against Edubray Ramos (1-3) with one out in the bottom half, Reyes singled and Cabrera, who has been playing with a strained left knee tendon, sent a slider soaring to right, setting off a wild celebration. The Mets had been 0-63 this year when trailing after eight innings.As soon as I hit it, I knew the ball was going to be out, Cabrera said.A member of the Phillies staff was consoling Ramos at his locker after the game.He hung a slider, Mackanin said. Just a bad pitch.The extra frames were needed because the struggles of closer Jeanmar Gomez continued. Gomez came into the game having allowed six earned runs over his last three appearances and fell behind Reyes in blowing his sixth blown save oof the season.dddddddddddd New York trailed 6-4 before pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo singled off Gomez leading off the ninth and Reyes sent a changeup over the right-field wall with one out.The last two weeks have been really tough on me, Gomez said.Mackanin feels that his young relievers can use this game as a learning experience.I think that the learning experience is that, against a team like this, or any major league team, you cant make mistakes, you got to throw quality pitches, he said. If you do, youre going to be successful and if you dont, youre going to get hurt.Starter Adam Morgan allowed three earned runs in five innings of work. Phillies starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19 consecutive starts.Cameron Rupp and Ryan Howard homered on consecutive pitches in the fifth inning to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Howards homer was his 47th against the Mets, tops among active players against the Mets.TRAINERS ROOMMets: LHP Steven Matz was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday because of continued discomfort in his left shoulder. He hasnt pitched since Aug. 14.Phillies: OF Tyler Goeddel was diagnosed with a concussion after getting hit by a Chris Beck pitch on Wednesday. . RHP Luis Garcia was hit on the right ankle by a sixth-inning line drive off the bat of James Loney. Garcia remained in the game.HAIL, CESAR!Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez extended his career-best streak of consecutive games reaching base to 27 with a fourth-inning triple. Its the longest on-base streak by a Phillie since Chase Utley reached in 28 straight in 2011.UP NEXTRHP Jeremy Hellickson (12-9) starts against the Mets for the fifth time this year on Friday. He has not allowed an earned run in his last 15 1/3 innings. RHP Gabriel Ynoa (1-0) will start in place of Matz. ' ' '
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