Iqbal not too concerned about Test series whitewash against South Africa

Former Pakistan captain believes that it was always going to be difficult winning away from home

Iqbal not too concerned about Test series whitewash against South Africa PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal has said that it would unfair to gauge Pakistan team’s performance in Test matches by looking at the Test series whitewash at the hands of South Africa.

While speaking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Iqbal said that winning away from home was always going to be a difficult task.

“Judging team’s performance on the recent series loss against South Africa is unfair,” said Iqbal. “It is not the right barometer because it is an international trend that visiting teams find it difficult to win, when playing away from home. There are very few occasions when a visiting team goes away from home and wins.”

He added: “To be the best in the world, you need to put up a good show when playing away from home as well.”

Iqbal — who featured in 58 Tests and 10 ODIs for Pakistan — was also critical about the team’s mentality in Test cricket as compared to limited-overs format.

“We tend to push players in the Test side who have done well in the limited-over formats which is not the right thing to do,” he said. “I noticed that some of the players play Test cricket with the same mindset with which they play the shorter formats. They need to realise that a different approach is required to excel on this level.”

The 75-year-old also stressed on the need for close evaluation of work done by the coaching staff rather than just holding the players responsible for the performances on the field.

“The players alone should not be solely responsible for performance on the field,” he said. “There should also be a process through which the performance of the coaches is assessed because these days there is a significantly large group of people who form part of a team’s management.”

Iqbal was also of the opinion that Pakistan captain — in all three formats — Sarfraz Ahmed should be relieved of leadership duties in Test cricket.

“Sarfraz should be captain of limited-over side because we have done exceedingly well in those formats but should not lead the side in Test cricket,” he said. “But I feel Test cricket adds more pressure on him which is why there is a dip in performance.”

He also spoke about the importance of Pakistan Super League by stating: “PSL attracts more crowds towards the stadium. Also in terms of revenue, both the players and the board benefit financially. The additional revenue which is earned through PSL can be invested in the system which in turn will aid the betterment of cricket in the country.”

Iqbal was also optimistic about Pakistan’s chances at the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

“If we look at how we won the Champions Trophy in 2017 despite the odds stacked against us, I think we have an equal chance of winning the World Cup along with other sides,” he said.

He also voiced his disappointment about lack of Indo-Pak cricket matches in the past few years.

“I think it is disappointing that India does not play with Pakistan even in UAE or a neutral venue,” he said. “The fans on both sides of the border are always eager to see these teams play.”