Former Cricketer Marina Iqbal Becomes Pakistan’s First Female Cricket Commentato
A former member of the Pakistan cricket team, Marina Iqbal has become Pakistan’s 1st female cricket commentator after being a part of the team for six years and playing in 34 ODIs and 42 T20Is.
Recently, in an interview with Female Cricket, she shared how she developed her passion for cricket, why she became a commentator and what is stopping Pakistan’s women’s cricket team from becoming world no. 1.
On becoming Pakistan’s first female commentator
“Well, it’s a great opportunity for me to venture into another area of cricket. I have been really lucky to start off with a very supportive production team and a co-commentator from the very start. It’s a great experience to be honest. Being able to hold up the mic and share my views about the game is phenomenal and I am enjoying it utmost.”
On her childhood cricket days
“My father was in the Army and he was a champion of tennis. Initially, he gave all the motivation and made me follow sports. We had a corner in the study room where all of his trophies and medals were on display. That always caught my attention. But I had been drawn towards cricket from a very young age. Being the youngest of all, I used to play with my brother a lot specially cricket and one of my uncles was then the part of Pakistan Men’s side and he has always inspired me. But at the same time, back then there was no scope of pursuing women’s cricket at a professional level.
I took it up as a hobby. At school, I was the only girl playing cricket with the boys and in those days I was fond of fast bowling trying to copy our National heroes like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Then in college I got the chance to play cricket with proper gears. After a year in 2006, PCB arranged trails for the regional team and I got selected after which there was no looking back.”
On what inspired her to become a cricketer
“My passion for cricket grew massively after the 1992 World Cup when Pakistan lifted the world cup. Then, later on, watching Shoaib Akhtar made a huge impact on me. I used to copy bowling actions of these legends in my home lawn. I used to look up to these national heroes. But once I started playing properly under PCB, I realized I was more of a batter than a bowler. It came very naturally to me. Working on my batting, I was greatly inspired by Sachin Tendulkar. Mohammad Yousuf and Kevin Pietersen. I learned a lot and that helped me improve my batting. I learned so many shots by just watching him and there is a huge glimpse of Kevin in my style of batting.”
On the reason behind her success
“Well, firstly all the credits to my parents who supported my passion amidst the societal pressures. They not just approved of my cricket profession but also helped me in each and every phase of my career. My mother used to accompany me in practices and matches and my father always helped me technically as well as mentally to deal with the game. Had they not supported me, I would have not been what I am today.”
On being nostalgic when she made her maiden appearance at the commentary box
“Yeah definitely. The feelings felt so fresh as if it was yesterday. I missed the 22 yards badly, also walking out as an opener for the team and then realizing that other commentators must have talked about me like I am doing today.”
On what is holding back the Pakistan women’s cricket team from being world no 1?
“I am quite happy about how the team has been progressing since last few years given that there is a lack of structure for women’s cricket in Pakistan.
We do not have enough clubs or grounds dedicated to women’s cricket. Our domestic structure is still improving and lack of enough matches at International level is a big hurdle. ICC Championships has truly played a crucial role in the overall development. But to answer your question, what is holding us back is the quantity of quality cricket matches.”
On whether she would like to change anything from the period she played cricket
“No, I am very satisfied with how it all turned out for me. Every event is an experience and learning is required to become a person of a strong head and a firm character. Though one thing if asked, I wish I had mom see me playing for Pakistan and representing Pakistani colors. I lost her just a year before I got the Green Blazer and I definitely wanted her to be there and see me getting selected because she has prayed almost every day to see me playing for the country.”
On when she was the captain of Pakistan’s cricket team
“I captained Pakistan A twice. I was appointed as captain in my debut match for Pakistan A team, something I would always cherish. Captaincy got the better out of me. My performance enhanced as a captain. Maybe the responsibility got out the best of me so yeah I never got under pressure, I always enjoyed every bit of it.”
On her other passions apart from cricket
“I was into cricket since childhood. Then in college, I got selected for my college team which further boosted my idea of taking up cricket as a profession. But if not cricket, I would have been a doctor.”
On the record she wishes to have made
“I always wanted to score a century on my debut. Never mind!”
On cricketer Sana Mir becoming first and the only Pakistani player to feature in the top ICC bowler ranking
“It’s a huge achievement not only for her but for the whole nation. The role model she has been, attracts a lot of young girls to come out and play. With this achievement, I believe more and more girls would be inspired to take up bowling and playing cricket for Pakistan. Sana’s milestone proves that hard work and self-belief can do wonders. I feel this milestone will be a game-changer for Pakistan’s Cricket.”
On advice to the aspiring cricketers
“Cricket is a passionate game but at the same time requires a lot of patience. You need to be very consistent and hard working. There are no shortcuts, what you do off the field will reflect on the field. Most importantly focus on how to become better every single day rather than focusing on results. It’s a process and it takes time but hard work always pays off for sure.”