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Cricketers on their milestones

Asif Iqbal

'I considered myself average before World Series Cricket'

Asif Iqbal on insomnia before a playing day, meeting Worrell, and losing his cool

Interview by Ijaz Chaudhry

April 28, 2012

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Asif Iqbal poses for a photo, June 14, 1974
Predicted to be an excellent batsman by Test cricketing uncle Ghulam Ahmed © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Asif Iqbal
Teams: Pakistan

First sleepless night because of cricket
The night before the last day of the Edgbaston Test of 1971. England had followed on and Pakistan were in a good position to win a Test against England after 17 years. [They drew it.]

First cricketing autograph
Sir Frank Worrell visited India somewhere in the mid-50s for the silver jubilee of Indian cricket. I was lucky to get his autograph.

First time I lost my temper on the field
In one of the Tests of the 1964-65 home series against New Zealand, their wicketkeeper claimed I was bowled. I was beaten and the ball had ricocheted off the keeper's pads on to the stumps and broken the bails. The whole New Zealand side made a real fuss. The umpire rightly gave me not out.

First cricketing gift
My uncle Ghulam Ahmed, the Indian Test cricketer, presented me with a brand new pair of gloves he had bought from outside India, predicting I would be an excellent batsman.

First realisation I belonged at the highest level
When Kerry Packer invited me to join World Series Cricket in 1977. Prior to that, I had considered myself to be only an average Test cricketer.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on cricket and other sports. For more about him and samples of his published work, visit

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Posted by Leonb on (April 30, 2012, 22:52 GMT)

@ harshthakor - I agree. I remember watching the 1st test of that series in Adelaide in 1977 (the one that ruined Jeff Thomson's shoulder). Aus were in control with a 182 run 1st innings lead and had Pak 5/293 with only Asif and the tail - very early in Imran's craeer and not the reliable batsman he would become. 173 runs laterthe innings closed and the tail had contributed 30! 50-odd overs each from Lillee and O'Keeffe and the Aussies came close to chasing the total, not not quite - test drawn. Simply brilliant!!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

Asif was one of the truly great cricketers that have played for Pakistan. He was my favorite one to watch and follow (Pakistan and Kent) growing up. Elegant batsman, wristy stroke play on both sides of the wicket, perhaps one of the best fielder and catcher Pakistan have had. Unlike some of his more illustrious contemporary batsmen, he scored when it mattered the most. You can look up the matches when he scored each of his eleven hundreds in tests.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (April 30, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

12th man has quite obviously not seen Asif Iqbal at all. Or it is possible that he is mistaking him for some other Asif from Pakistan. I cannot however remember any other batsman with the name Asif who played at around the same time. I would like to assure him that this Asif Iqbal was truly special. His strokeplay was subtle and seemingly gentle but had the power of timing and those magical wrists which seem so much a part of a pure Hyderabadi. He may not have had the looks of an Imran or the street fighter persona of a Javed. But he held his own with his aristocratic and civilised manner. I really wish we had players like him today. I must also tell afs_talyarkhan if he is indeed the very same person whose voice I have had the pleasure of hearing in my early years how very appropriate I find his views on an artist that we both were fortunate to see.

Posted by mughal29173 on (April 30, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

@12thman. I think to be picked up by WSC one had to be as popular and gifted any world class player of contemporary era. today we have Big Bash, BPL, IPL. WCS was the only one and they made sure they picked the best ones. Kuddos to 12thmadn

Posted by Farhan166 on (April 30, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

@12thman. Asif Iqbal was not average. He was special. He also captained the WSC world XI scoring a century. Ask any Englishman who followed Kent county in the 60s and 70s. Ask any Australian who saw him bat and field during the 70s against Australia in Australia. In Pakistan he is remembered as one of the most popular and greats of the game.

Posted by 12thman on (April 30, 2012, 2:25 GMT)

Asif was average and the only reason Packer hired him was the hope that he would bring other Pakistani cricketers.

Posted by afs_talyarkhan on (April 29, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

Excellent point @Kiteflier I had completely missed the connection between Asif and Hyderabad - of course those wrists! Jaisimha, Pataudi, Azhar, VVS and Asif - a pantheon as illustrious as that produced by any metropolis!

Posted by SRISESH on (April 29, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

What a cricketer !!!! Asif along with Javed and Zaheer a treat to watch those days. Asif iqbal is a great runner between wickets and I felt sad for him when he got runout in his last innings against India.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (April 29, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Majid Khan & Asif Iqbal both started their test cricket as fast bowlers but ended up being some of the best in the trade. Their stats might not look as good as a class batsmen poses today but that is because they played in an era where an average of 40 was as good as 50 today. Wickets were fast and each and every team had some top class fast bowlers.

Posted by spellbinder76 on (April 29, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

Asif Iqbal is one of the greats of Pakistran Cricket. I think PCB should use his talent in bringing the cricket back to Pkaistan.

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