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  Asif Iqbal played 58 Tests for Pakistan between 1964 and 1980 and was captain on six occasions. Today he is coordinator of the Cricketers Benefit Fund Scheme (CBFS) in Sharjah and is a television commentator at the Golden Jubilee Quadrangular one-day series in Lahore. He spent some time with us on the IRC channel #cricket in between his commentary commitments on November 5 and 6, 1997. Suhael Ahmed assisted Mr Iqbal with the interview while Rick Eyre was the moderator.

Rick: We have Asif Iqbal with us today, former Pakistan batsman and currently the coordinator of the CBFS in Sharjah and I would like to welcome him to #cricket. We only have a short time today before the match starts.

Asif Iqbal: Thank you nice to be here

Rick: How do you see this week's tournament shaping up? Who do you think will win?

Asif Iqbal: The tourney is going fine but unfortunately the dew in the evening is playing a major role for the outcome of the matches inspite of perfect batting cond the captain winning the toss is electing to field and this is because the ball gets wet and heavy and difficult to bowl and field.

reff: Do you think the current pakistan team is one of the most talented ever....

Asif Iqbal: Yes, especially when you look at the results for the past 6 to 8 years and not only they won the World cup in Aust but also won the test series home and away.

anirox: what do u think are the chances of revival of ind-pak test series?

Asif Iqbal: There is already a tour of India by Pak scheduled for Jan 1999 with 5 test and a few ODIs.

keith: Morning Mr Iqbal, Welcome to #cricket, With the wickets that have been prepared in Pakistan for the past RSA series do you thinks that wickets, after the PCB's directive for match results pitches, will be improved ?

Asif Iqbal: Yes, I think one has to look at the conditions prevailing in the country you cant have wickets in Aust, UK and RSA to be found in pak. But certainly the wicket a result oriented wicket In Faisalabad produced a result and this is what the crowds want to see in tests.

Amol: Despite Pakistans obvious talent, the last 4 test series in Pakistan have been a loss to SL, a win over Zimbabwe, a tie vs NZ, and a loss to RSA. What do you think the explanation is, for this ordinary run of results?

Asif Iqbal: First of all credit should be given to the teams who performed better than Pak in pak. having said that you also have to see that in those series one or two key members were either unfit to play or were disciplined and this does not help the morale of the team and hence the poor results

Asif Iqbal: I would like to continue tomorrow at 12 PM same as today. Sorry I have to leave for the TV toss now.

Rick: thanks you very much for your time today

Asif Iqbal: See you all tomorrow at 12:00, thank you

Suhael: Asif has gone to do the recording of the toss and has agreed to be back tomorrow at the same time

Rick: Asif Iqbal is back with us again today for a short while before the match starts

Rick: I have fond memories of your innings of 152 not out at the Adelaide Oval in 76/77 which helped save a Test against Australia. What do you consider was your finest test innings?

Asif Iqbal: My finest test innings was in the same year at Sydney as it was not saving a test but we went on to win it.

PakTheBest: What did you think about yesterdays performance by Pakistan?

Asif Iqbal: They were beaten by a better side, but also losing the toss and fielding second contributed to it?

keith: Morning , going on from the questions about the wickets in Pakistan yesterday ... do you that in the past this was the reason that Pakistan won so many games, and have the wickets changed from the days you played do you think?

Asif Iqbal: No, I think pak winning the games is not due to the wkts but because in the recent past they are a better team than the visitors and the record away from home is pretty good.

Ravi: I am from Hyderabad, Deccan..went to Aliya College (hint hint)..I observed that you went to Hyd. for the recent veterans series after a long did you feel playing at the good old Lal Bahadur stadium after a long time? met any old friends during your stay over there?

Asif Iqbal: Yes it was wonderful visiting Hyd once again as a player, be it as a veteran player, but honestly speaking it was the lure of walking on the Fateh maidan (Lal Bahadur Stad) that provoked me to don the cricket clothes after 15 years as I havent played any cricket at all. I did meet some old friends but then I am a reqular visitor to Hyd

Pranav: Mr. Iqbal: What do you think about PCB's decision to drop Salim Malik after a rather successful Sahara Cup?

Asif Iqbal: Thats a q that PCB alone can answer!

soacidic: if both saqlain and mushtaq ahmed were fit,who would u pick in a pakistan ODI 11?

Asif Iqbal: I would pick both of them as they are match winners

Ash: Asif: Do you think the first 15 overs rule should be removed to prevent the one-days from being heavily biased towards batsmen ? It seems to be terrible for the bowlers.

Asif Iqbal: Yes I agree

Deon: : Good Morning Mr_Iqbal (from Pretoria, South Africa) : Q : Seeing that you were a former Pakistani captain, I suppose you more than anyone else would know what it takes to captain and motivate a highly volatile Pakistani side. Taking into account the current form of the Pakistani side, what would you say did Saaed Anwar and Wasim Akram lack in the Series against South Africa - and who in your opinion was the best Pakistani captain that embodied all the qualities that is demanded of a Pakistani captain.?

Asif Iqbal: In my opinion the best captain I played under was Mushtaq Mohammad, then Javed Miandad. Wasim needs to motivate his team and the best way to do it start performing himself and like Imran he will become A winner.

Asif Iqbal: Ihave to go to the TV comms and will drop in agan, Thank you

Suhael: Sorry Asif has gone to do the coom on tv and has promised to drop in perhaps during the break after the first innings

Asif Iqbal: Nice to be back

gangadin: Hello Asif. Great to have you on the #. Not many Pakistanis play in the English county circuit. In your days there were many like you, Zaheer and majid khan who graced the scene. Why is this?

Asif Iqbal: In those days there was no restriction the number of overseas players playing for a county and then it was restricted to one per county, and although we have abt 4 players in county cricket now, i.e. Wasim, waqar, Mushtaq and Saqlain, the main reason that there is so much int'l cricket being played all year, the Boards are reluctant to allow the players to play in county cricket.

antint: There are a lot of allegations of bribery in world cricket these days.  Were there any such problems or rumours in your playing days?

Asif Iqbal: Well the allegations are there but there is no evidence as such. I think in our days there was not so much of live tv of cricket matches

saqlain: asif iqbal why all the matches of the quadrangular series were scheduled in lahore, why werent the other centres given the match?

Asif Iqbal: The reason being lahore is the only city with floodlights at the stadium

Amol: Mr Iqbal: the vexed question of betting and match fixing. There clearly is a lot of illegal betting on games in the subcontinent, especially in Sharjah (where many in the criminal element are often seen on cellphones). Do you think this might lead or has led to match fixing, is there anything that can be done about it, or has been done in sharjah?

Asif Iqbal: I am surprised to read that people you have seen with cellphones are classified as criminal elements. This I think is not only unfair, in fact it is criminal because in this and age people who are attending cricket matches have also other businnese to attend to and mobile phone come very handy. It is unfortunate that Sharjah which has provided the first offshore cricket centre especially at a time when India and Pak were unable to host each. Punters losing money be it on cricket or any other sport try to justify their bad judgement by laying allegations of fixing results.

Ravi: Congrats on installing flood lights at far are we from hosting a India-Pak test match at Sharjah? and how is the BCCI and PCB's response towards this?

Asif Iqbal: We are looking forward to having our first tourney under lights and God willing, oneday with the support of BCCI and PCB we will stage the first offshore test match.

JohnCleese: Q. You had criticised the Australian Board in no uncertain terms for the changes that they have proposed in the One-Day format. Do you think that the ODI format as it stands now is quite all right?

Asif Iqbal: Yes I do although i feel that maybe it is a little bit in favour of batsmen but spectators want to see tall scores rather than quick wickets

Ash: Asif: How can we make test cricket more popular ? I am sure you have given considerable thought to this.

Asif Iqbal: I really dont know what more can be done to make it popular. in UK they had six tests against Aust and all were a sellout. i am sure is the same when England go to Aust. In the subcontinent, economics play a major role and when you can watch sitting in your living room athough you may not get the same atmosphere a family of say four can save a considerable amount of money. With live telecasting I feel that the revenue you can generate from .

Asif Iqbal: Now have to go back to the comm box. Nice talking to you.

Rick: thanks again for your time, Asif.

Asif Iqbal: Thank you and bye

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Date-stamped : 28 Feb1999 - 11:25