Asif Iqbal April 28, 2012

'I considered myself average before World Series Cricket'

Asif Iqbal on insomnia before a playing day, meeting Worrell, and losing his cool
15

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 www.sportscorrespondent.info

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bobby_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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bobby_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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Farhan166 on April 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Average - no way. I followed Asif Iqbal since I since my childhood. I believe that he was one of the most exciting cricketers the game has ever seen. He was so popular and highly regarded among the Pakistanis of my generation. He was known for his fighting qualities and a great team player. I think he was a special and unique cricketer. Pakistan has not produced a better no.6 batsman than him. He was not very interested in playing for averages. A back injury prevented him bowling more in test cricket. He was the most popular kent overseas cricketer. It was a pleasure to see him chase a cricket ball. One of the few cricketers who were ambidextrous when it comes to throwing the ball when fielding. Pakistan desperately needs another Asif Iqbal.

  • luks on April 29, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    I don't know about Asif Iqbal. But, I think many cricketers must be feeling the same at the IPL. That is why Test cricket is the ultimate challenge.

  • Chris_P on April 29, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Asif, you were never an average test cricketer. Packer employed the best of the best and you missed nothing in comparison to the others.

  • harshthakor on April 29, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    Asif Iqbal is one of the best cricketers I have seen and the best batsman with tail-enders.Towards the late stage of his career became the best no 6 batsman in the world.After Gary Sobers the best no 6 test batsman in the world.His 146 not out at the Oval in 1967 was amongst the greatest test innings of all time.His other invaluable contributions were his match-winning 120 at Sydney in 1977 which enabled Pakistan to draw a rubber for the first time ever in Australia and his 135 at Kingston in 1977.In the latter knock he displayed dazzling brilliance.One of the best no6 batsman of all time.It was sad that his career ended ignonimously with defeat in India.

  • Percy_Fender on April 29, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    I remember a frail young opening bowler operating for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy under the debonair M L Jaisimha in the early 60s. Asif Iqbal Rizvi as he then was was more in the news for his bowling exploits. As a batsman, he did not seem exceptional in terms of his achievements because he batted low in the order.He had a very pronounced open stance which became more noticed only after he started playing Tests.Tests but for Pakistan rather than India.I think he migrated to Pakistan in 1963 and started playing for Pakistan in the mid 60s.I remember that he played a brilliant innings against England in the mid 60s in England when the power of his strokes despite his mild build became noticed.That was perhaps the effect of his wrists as one would later see in Azharuddin also from Hyderabad. Asif Iqbal was very cosmopilitan in his outlook and articulate Though he may have imbibed some of it in his stay in the UK playing for Kent, he was a liberal even in his early days in Hyderabad.

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  • Percy_Fender on April 29, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    I remember a frail young opening bowler operating for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy under the debonair M L Jaisimha in the early 60s. Asif Iqbal Rizvi as he then was was more in the news for his bowling exploits. As a batsman, he did not seem exceptional in terms of his achievements because he batted low in the order.He had a very pronounced open stance which became more noticed only after he started playing Tests.Tests but for Pakistan rather than India.I think he migrated to Pakistan in 1963 and started playing for Pakistan in the mid 60s.I remember that he played a brilliant innings against England in the mid 60s in England when the power of his strokes despite his mild build became noticed.That was perhaps the effect of his wrists as one would later see in Azharuddin also from Hyderabad. Asif Iqbal was very cosmopilitan in his outlook and articulate Though he may have imbibed some of it in his stay in the UK playing for Kent, he was a liberal even in his early days in Hyderabad.

  • harshthakor on April 29, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    Asif Iqbal is one of the best cricketers I have seen and the best batsman with tail-enders.Towards the late stage of his career became the best no 6 batsman in the world.After Gary Sobers the best no 6 test batsman in the world.His 146 not out at the Oval in 1967 was amongst the greatest test innings of all time.His other invaluable contributions were his match-winning 120 at Sydney in 1977 which enabled Pakistan to draw a rubber for the first time ever in Australia and his 135 at Kingston in 1977.In the latter knock he displayed dazzling brilliance.One of the best no6 batsman of all time.It was sad that his career ended ignonimously with defeat in India.

  • Chris_P on April 29, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Asif, you were never an average test cricketer. Packer employed the best of the best and you missed nothing in comparison to the others.

  • luks on April 29, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    I don't know about Asif Iqbal. But, I think many cricketers must be feeling the same at the IPL. That is why Test cricket is the ultimate challenge.

  • Farhan166 on April 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Average - no way. I followed Asif Iqbal since I since my childhood. I believe that he was one of the most exciting cricketers the game has ever seen. He was so popular and highly regarded among the Pakistanis of my generation. He was known for his fighting qualities and a great team player. I think he was a special and unique cricketer. Pakistan has not produced a better no.6 batsman than him. He was not very interested in playing for averages. A back injury prevented him bowling more in test cricket. He was the most popular kent overseas cricketer. It was a pleasure to see him chase a cricket ball. One of the few cricketers who were ambidextrous when it comes to throwing the ball when fielding. Pakistan desperately needs another Asif Iqbal.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bobby_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!

  • 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.