Khan played international cricket for two decades in the late twentieth century and, after retiring, entered politics.
Besides his political activism, Khan is also a philanthropist, cricket commentator, chancellor of the University of Bradford and founding chairman of the Board of Governors of Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Khan was born in Lahore, the only son of Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, and his wife Shaukat Khanum. Long settled in Mianwali in northwestern Punjab, the family is of Pashtun ethnicity and belong to the Niazi tribe.
A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Khan grew up with his four sisters in relatively affluent (upper middle-class) circumstances and received a privileged education.
He was educated at Aitchison College in Lahore and the Royal Grammar School Worcester in England, where he excelled at cricket. On 16 May 1995, Khan married Jemima Goldsmith, in a two-minute ceremony conducted in Urdu in Paris.
A month later, on 21 June, they were married again in a civil ceremony at the Richmond registry office in England. Jemima converted to Islam.
Khan’s later decision to join politics alarmed opposition politicians and intelligence agencies, mainly because of Jemima’s half Jewish ancestry which remained a point of controversy especially among right-wing parties who alleged that he was related to ‘Zionists’.
The couple has two sons, Sulaiman Isa and Kasim. Imran Khan also has a daughter from a previous partner.
Khan made his test cricket debut against England in 1971 in the city of Birmingham. Three years later, he debuted in the One Day International (ODI) match, once again playing against England at Nottingham for the Prudential Trophy.
After graduating from Oxford and finishing his tenure at Worcestershire, he returned to Pakistan in 1976 and secured a permanent place on his native national team starting from the 1976–1977 season, during which they faced New Zealand and Australia.
Following the Australian series, he toured the West Indies, where he met Tony Greig, who signed him up for Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket.
His credentials as one of the fastest bowlers of the world started to become established when he finished third at 139.7 km/h in a fast bowling contest at Perth in 1978, behind Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding, but ahead of Dennis Lillee, Garth Le Roux and Andy Roberts.
During the early 80’s Imran was not only at his cricketing peak, but had quite a few relations with women.
He had a relationship with Susannah Costantine, ex-model Marie Helving, and artist Emma Sargeant.
Some of his relations ended simply because of difference in culture and because of the busy and travelling life of Imran.
He brought some of his relationships back home to Pakistan, in which he was frowned upon because he was an individual of Muslim faith.
In 1992, the world cup final was Imran’s exit from cricket. He led Pakistan to a great victory over India. Pakistan had won the World Cup. It was time for Imran to retire, which brought a lot of grief to Pakistan. He ended his career with an
outstanding score of 3807 runs and 362 wickets in only test matches. During his career, Imran had turned the Pakistan cricket stars into the stars they are today.
The day that Imran retired was a very big day.
So big that the President of that time, Zia personally tried to stop him from retiring.
Imran said that he wanted to retire at the highest point of his popularity so that people would be able to remember him forever.