Uncle was the captain of the Indian team, nephew was born in India but played for Pakistan and also captained the team

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia - Editor
9 Min Read

New Delhi. Even though the relations between India and Pakistan are bitter due to political reasons, there is a relationship of heart and blood between the people of these two countries. There are a good number of people in both the countries who have relatives in the neighboring country. During the partition of the country in 1947, such cases came to the fore when one brother stayed in India, but the other brother chose to live in the new country Pakistan. There are some such players in cricket too, who played for India before the partition and then went to Pakistan and played cricket for the national team there. These players include Abdul Hafiz Kardar, Gul Mohammad and Aamir Ilahi.

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Apart from these cases, there is also a player who was born in Hyderabad city of India. Even after the independence of the country, he stayed in India and performed brilliantly in domestic cricket. He also took 6 wickets while playing for South Zone against the Pakistan team that toured India in 1961. This player also played as a medium pacer in Ranji Trophy. Later he decided to play cricket for Pakistan and also became the captain of the team. Here we are talking about Asif Iqbal, who has also visited India as the captain of the Pakistan cricket team in 1979-80.

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Asif Iqbal Rizvi started his cricket career as a medium pace bowler, but later established himself as a batsman. He gained immense popularity due to his batting style and looks. Asif was born on 6 June 1943 in the city of Hyderabad in undivided Andhra Pradesh. He inherited the game of cricket. His maternal uncle Ghulam Ahmed not only played for India as an off-spinner but also captained the Indian team in three Test matches. Asif's father died a few months after his birth and he was raised under the care of his maternal uncle. Asif Iqbal learned the nuances of cricket from his maternal uncle Ghulam Ahmed.

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Took 6 wickets against the Pakistani team that toured India
Asif liked bowling more than batting in his childhood. Due to his sports skills, he soon reached great heights. When Pakistan team came to India in 1960-61, Asif played a tour match for South Zone and performed brilliantly against them. In this match played in January 1961, he took 4 wickets for 52 runs in the first innings and 2 wickets for 57 runs in the second innings against Pakistan. Asif, who studied at Osmania University of Hyderabad, started his career as a bowler who could also bat a little. The thin Asif was successful in swinging his balls. Till this time his dream was to play cricket for India.

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However, soon his family decided to shift to Karachi. With his all-round performance, he caught the attention of the Pakistani selectors and soon he got a place in the Test team. In October 1964, Asif Iqbal played the first Test against Australia in Karachi. He started bowling and came to bat at number 10. In his debut match, he took two wickets and scored 41 runs in the first innings and 36 runs in the second innings. This performance in the first Test inspired Asif to improve his batting. Later, due to back pain, he reduced bowling and played only as a pure batsman. He improved his batting by playing county cricket.

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Scored his first Test century against England in 1967
This hard work in batting paid off and Asif scored his first Test century at the Oval in 1967. This century gave him a new identity as a batsman. In the match, Asif scored 146 runs in adverse conditions and shared a 190-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Intikhab Alam. Although Pakistan lost the match, England could not win by an innings margin thanks to Asif's century. Amidst the growing fame of cricket, he was declared 'Wisden Cricketer of the Year' in 1968.

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In 1972-73, when Pakistan won its first series against New Zealand on foreign soil, Asif's contribution with the bat was significant. In the second Test match in Dunedin, he scored 175 runs and added 350 runs for the fourth wicket with Mushtaq Mohammad. Pakistan won this match by an innings margin. He was also the captain of the Pakistani team in the 1975 and 1979 World Cups. During Asif's international cricket career, the Pakistani team had excellent batsmen like Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad. Because of this, his batting performance did not get much importance. However, Asif has many excellent performances to his name from Pakistan. Asif, who was an excellent fielder, was an expert in playing cover drive. He was also a part of Kerry Packer's World Cricket Series.

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Under the captaincy of Asif Iqbal, Pakistan team visited India in 1978-79. This was the same period when the performance of India's all-rounder Kapil Dev (32 wickets and 278 runs) was at its peak. In this series of 6 Tests, Asif may have scored 267 runs but Pakistan team (IND vs PAK) had to face defeat by 0-2. Losing the series to India was bound to create a ruckus in Pakistan and this is what happened. Asif Iqbal was accused of match fixing in connivance with India. The Test played at Eden Gardens in February 1980 under this series was the last international match of Asif's career. In his 16-year international career, Asif Iqbal played 58 Tests and 10 ODIs. In Test cricket, he has 3575 runs (11 centuries) and 53 wickets at an average of 38.85. He scored 330 runs in 10 ODIs at an average of 55.00 and took 16 wickets.

After retiring from cricket, Asif worked with Abdul Rehman Bukhatir and played a key role in establishing Sharjah as a cricket venue. Asif, who has also worked as an ICC match referee, is now settled in London and living a happy life with his family.

tag: india vs pakistan, pakistan cricket, pakistan cricket team, Test cricket

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