LAHORE: Top Pakistani cricketers Shahid Afridi and Inzamam-ul-Haq visited Imran Khan in hospital Wednesday as the politician and former Test captain recovered from a bad fall at an election rally.
Imran, who played 88 Tests for Pakistan and led them to their sole World Cup triumph, suffered head and back injuries when he fell from a riser lifting him to a platform for a campaign speech in the eastern city of Lahore.
Messages of support from the cricket world poured in for Imran, who doctors said was making “steady progress” at the city's Shaukat Khanum hospital and was expected to make a full recovery.
Big-hitting all-rounder Afridi said his boyhood hero was in good spirits when he visited him.
“As I was in Lahore I thought it's my duty to visit him,” Afridi told AFP.
“He showed no signs of pessimism and seemed like the same Khan he was during his playing days.
“I am sure that he will recover soon and I think the Almighty has saved him from a bigger disaster.”
Inzamam, who was part of the young side Imran inspired to an unlikely victory in the 1992 World Cup, said he was shocked by the accident on Tuesday, which was repeated endlessly on television news channels.
“The news disturbed me a lot and I couldn't get through anyone who could tell me about his welfare so I visited to the hospital myself and found him okay,” said Inzamam.
Pakistan's current squad offered special prayers for their former captain at a training camp in Abbottabad where they are preparing for next month's Champions Trophy in England.
Wasim Akram, groomed under Imran and whose deadly bowling was a decisive factor in the 1992 final, also voiced concern.
“It was shocking to hear the news,” Wasim told AFP.
“I was really concerned so I called and checked about his welfare and it was a big relief when I knew that he was okay.”
Another team-mate Javed Miandad, said he prayed for Khan's health.
“Khan was a great team-mate, and is an amazing friend. I am praying for his recovery, I know he will fight back,” Miandad, who is currently working as director general at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said.
Former West Indian batting master Brian Lara also offered sympathy for Imran on Twitter.