Left Menu
Development News Edition

I believe in Imran's vision, India and Pak can be friendly neighbours: Asif Iqbal

PTI | Manchester | Updated: 14-06-2019 12:49 IST | Created: 14-06-2019 11:58 IST
I believe in Imran's vision, India and Pak can be friendly neighbours: Asif Iqbal
Image Credit: Flickr

As a captain, what Asif Iqbal liked about a young Imran Khan was his determination and he believes that the current Pakistan Prime Minister will certainly do his bit in improving bilateral ties with India at all levels. Imran played a lot of cricket under Iqbal's captaincy and the 76-year-old has seen how the former drive to achieve his goal. Not much has changed now that he is leading the nation, Iqbal feels.

"If he believes in something, he will go all the way in achieving that goal. He believes that India and Pakistan can live as friendly neighbours. I think he will at least try his best and go all the way for peace...not just as cricketers but as Pakistanis, we believe in what he says," Iqbal, who has been living in London for decades now, told PTI during an exclusive interaction. "He is totally committed and that's what Pakistanis need – economic prosperity, stability in the region. I am not qualified to comment since I don't know. This is what the media says," the veteran of 58 Test matches said.

Iqbal, who was given a standing ovation in his farewell Test match at the Eden Gardens in 1980, is "frustrated" how "external factors" spoil the narrative of a healthy Indo-Pak bilateral cricketing relationship. "Times have changed but it has got nothing to do with sports itself or cricketers in general. Its everything to do with politics. I am totally frustrated. The reason for this (strained relations) is our politicians, who have had no interest in sports.

"Fortunately, we now have Imran Khan as Prime Minister, who has shown an intention to curb the hostility. That is brilliant," Iqbal said ahead of the India-Pakistan World Cup contest here on Sunday. However, he did not elaborate on how any of Imran's policy decisions have shown the intent to curb hostilities, which have risen after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives.

Iqbal reiterated that bilateral cricket can change relations. "When they start playing bilaterals regularly, you will see a totally different attitude of players and supporters. They love watching cricket as a sport, as a rivalry, which is healthy not a rivalry where we would kill each other.

"You can fight tooth and nail on the field and then enjoy a good time off the field," he said. On the current state of Pakistan cricket, Iqbal said skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, as per his assessment, has achieved "much more" than many of his predecessors save Imran, who gave the country its only World Cup title.

"Sarfaraz has delivered more than most of the big names in Pakistan cricket," declared Iqbal. A product of elite private schooling, Iqbal believes that the current generation, which has evolved from the maidens and streets, are more skilful than the English speaking school cricketers of his times.

"Boys with economically stable background paid more attention to education than sport. Parents during our times used to stop children from playing sports saying that you are wasting your time. "Captain in our times was selected on the merit of someone's stature, family background, whether or not he can express himself properly language-wise, because of cricket being a British sport, but no longer," Iqbal spoke about the distinct class division that existed in the sport back then.

"Now you get cricketers, they are not really from private schools. They are from the street and maidens but they are better cricketers than the ones that schools produced during our days. That is my explanation for the current difference between past and present leaders." With T20 cricket providing stable livelihoods to many, the game awareness nowadays is far more than the time when cricketers used to get Rs 10 per day as Test match fees.

"Cricket has evolved. Not just current cricketers from Pakistan but all cricketers from sub-continent. Five teams are from sub-continent out of 10 which is a huge contribution. "They (the players) are much more aware that they have to be physically fit to be a part of the current generation, they also have to produce results like this (T20) is their livelihood and they are dependent on it.

"When I started, we used to get 10 rupees a day for representing Pakistan but we never even thought the money was large enough or not. Times have changed. Cricket right now is an industry where cricketers are goods who need to be good enough to stay in the market and remain saleable," he observed.



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

Solar energy sure, pure and secure; Madhya Pradesh to emerge as major hub for clean, cheap power in India: Modi.

Solar energy sure, pure and secure Madhya Pradesh to emerge as major hub for clean, cheap power in India Modi....

OPD, emergency services at Meghalaya hospital shut on COVID exposure

OPD and emergency services at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences was shut following exposure to coronavirus, officials said on Friday. The services will remain closed as decontamination and con...

Lucy Liu to star in ABC’s workplace comedy pilot

Kill Bill star Lucy Liu is set to play the lead in a multi-camera comedy from Friends alum Shana Goldberg-Meehan, CBS Television Studios and 20th Century Fox TV. The untitled series will be directed by Christine Gernon, reported Variety.Liu...

COVID-19: International Canoe Federation cancels 2020 Dragon Boat World Championships

International Canoe Federation ICF has cancelled the 2020 Dragon Boat World Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was scheduled to take place at Bilawali lake in Indore, Madhya Pradesh from November 12-15. Dragon Boat Wor...

Give Feedback