The final outcome of Pakistan's 2018 general election may not be known for some time yet, and it seems likely that the eventual government will be a coalition - but that coalition will be led by the party with the most seats, Tehreek-e-Insaf, whose leader is Imran Khan. When Imran is confirmed as Prime Minister, he will become the second man to lead a national government who also played cricket for Sydney University.
The first was Edmund Barton who, as the leader of the Protectionist Party, served as Australia's first Prime Minister, from 1 January 1901 to 24 September 1903. Barton enrolled at Sydney University in 1867, having been school captain at Sydney Grammar. Immediately, he joined the Cricket Club, playing with significant success in the Second Eleven where, in his first season, he averaged 15 with the bat and took 13 wickets at a cost of four runs each. His efforts in the Firsts - eight runs in four innings - were less eye-catching. After that first season (when he also took two cheap wickets in the Firsts), he never bowled again, possibly because it involved too much effort. Barton was famously immobile in the field, although he had safe hands when the ball was hit to him, and he was often hidden away at long-stop, behind the wicket-keeper.
Barton spent two seasons flitting between the Firsts and Seconds, and then settled into a regular First Eleven place. He seldom scored heavily - matches were generally low-scoring anyway - but he often made useful runs. The scorecards of his matches are littered with the great names of early Australian cricket: when the Albert Club demolished University for 26 in 1872-73, Barton was one of the two men who escaped dismissal by the great bowler Fred Spofforth, who claimed 9-10. Two years later, he stood up to Spofforth to score 25, while in the match against the Warwick Club, he played well against Test players Billy Murdoch, Ted Evans and Charles Bannerman. He was the first University captain to allow the young Tom Garrett to bowl, two years before Garrett opened the bowling in the first of all Test matches. When University played Bathurst in 1874-75, Dave Gregory joined the team, with the result that man who would become Australia's first Test captain played under the leadership of the man who would become the country's first Prime Minister. Numerically, Barton's best effort was an innings of 61 against the Caxton Club in 1871-72.
Barton served as club secretary for many years, and the name Barton appears on a First Eleven scoresheet as late as 1885, although with no initial, so we cannot be sure that it was Edmund. He also umpired, most notoriously in a match between New South Wales and the touring English team in 1878-79, when a run out decision by his fellow official, George Coulthard, resulted in a riot. On that occasion, Barton was credited with restoring order and calming the crowd who had invaded the field.
Barton's term as Prime Minister was brief; he stepped down from the position to take a seat on the High Court, which he considered to be a more important role.
Imran Khan's career as a Sydney University player was brief, consisting of half a dozen matches in 1984-85. He had been enticed to New South Wales to become the State's second professional imported from overseas (after West Indian Andy Roberts, seven years earlier). The NSW Cricket Association assigned Sydney University as his Grade club, and Imran (who had played for Oxford University as an undergraduate in the early 1970s) turned out for the students when he was available. At first, he did little bowling, as he was recovering from shin splints. He was a positive presence around the team, though, and his team-mates enjoyed the experience of playing with one of the great all-rounders of the modern game, and marveled at his extraordinarily active social life.
The last match before Christmas was a Saturday/Sunday game at University, against North Sydney. University batted for most of the first day, managing only 191 on a slow, grassless pitch. Opener Greg Bush and Test batsman Trevor Chappell batted stubbornly for North Sydney, and at lunch on the second day, North Sydney needed about ninety runs to win with eight wickets still standing. The rest of University's team loitered in the changing room or wandered off to the nearby hospital canteen, but Imran had a better offer, from a glamorous young woman who had arrived at the ground in a red sports car just before the break. When play resumed, University had only ten players on the field - no Imran. After a few minutes, a red sports car appeared and Imran took the field. Chappell and Graham Spring continued to push and nudge North Sydney towards victory when Imran walked up to Mick O'Sullivan and announced, "captain, I will bowl now". Almost at once, he found life in the pitch that had eluded every other bowler in the game, unsettling Spring with sharply lifting deliveries before firing an inswinging yorker into his stumps. From 23 overs, he took 4-25, stealing an improbable win for University by only nine runs. Back to full fitness, he went on to help New South Wales win the Sheffield Shield.
It would be difficult to imagine two cricketers - or, indeed, two men - less similar than Edmund Barton and Imran Khan. Nonetheless, they share a unique distinction in the history of the Sydney University Cricket Club.