ARSHAD Iqbal ... aiming to play for Pakistan.
ARSHAD Iqbal ... aiming to play for Pakistan.

SWABI: Young right arm-medium fast bowler Arshad Iqbal has said thatit is his wish to earn Pakistan a grand win over arch-rivals India whenever the two teams meets and is keen to bring in laurels for his country.

“This is my utmost desire to play at international level against different teams, especially against arch-rival India, and deliver according to the expectations of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and people of the country,” said Arshad in an exclusive chat with Dawn on Saturday.

Arshad, who belongs to Maneri Payan village of district Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa went on to add: “I am well aware of enthusiasm and crazy passion of out nation about cricket. And the cricket fever is at its pinnacle when there is a match between the two South Asian giants, Pakistan and India, anywhere in the world and in any format,” he observed.

Speaking on phone from Karachi, Arshad said: “I aim to carry on my struggle to find a place in the Pakistan team and excel for my country. I am fully aware that to excel in cricket I need to do a lot of practice and put in tremendous hard work as today’s cricket has become very competitive. But I am prepared to do that”

Arshad had made his first class debut for Wapda in 2018 and since then his cricketing journey has begun. But he instantly gained a nationwide fame when he played a keyrole in Karachi Kings’ thumping victory against Lahore Qala­ndars in Pakistan Super League (PSL) final which was played in Karachi on Nov 17. He sent packing two hard-hitting players - England’s Samit Patel (8) and dashing Australian player Ben Dunk (11) when both were looking to consolidate their team’s position and were ready to launch an onslaught.

“There was no limit of my happiness when I sent the two key batsmen to the pavilion,” recalled Arshad. “I could not express my feelings in words because it was the final and the departure of two match-winning players were heavy blow to Lahore Qalandars.”

“The strategy adopted by our captain (Imad Wasim) worked wonderfully for our players and the Karachi Kings lifted the title. The spirit of playing with full vigour, coordination, cooperation, determination and concentration paid off for us and we are still upbeat about the historic victory.”

Arshad, son of retired Captain Gul Haidar, added that he has not and will never looked back after taking up cricket. ‘I have concentrated on my bowling and try to play my cricket with complete devotion and do rigorous practice to keep fit and in form.”

“No doubt, a lot of tough cricket is yet to come for me. But my dream is not only to play for my beloved country but also make substantial contribution in all Pakistan victories.

When Arshad was a teenager he was very much impressed by Wasim Akram. “I still remember his (Waseem Akram) outstanding performances on the field against best of the sides. He infused in me a new soul of taking up cricket and to play a very high level of cricket,” he said.

”I am happy that slowly and gradually I am moving closer to my destiny, hoping that the continued struggle would culminate in a big achievement for both myself and for my motherland.”

It must be mentioned here that Arshad Iqbal has joined a prominent club of district Swabi, and keeping in view his progress, he will soon become a star like Junaid Khan and Yasir Shah who have hailed from Swabi.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

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