A new dawn appears on Pakistani cricket, with the return of international cricket, there is also a new dawn in the commentary box. Today I am extremely pleased and honored to have a lady who has been breaking barriers all her life, she is the multi-talented, first female cricket commentator in Pakistan Marina Iqbal.

Doing what she does best

Hi, Marina as a youngster what made you go into cricket?

My father being an Army Man was into sports. I used to fancy his medals and trophies. My late uncle played cricket for Pakistan. Being the youngest and close to my elder brother I used to follow and do whatever he did. I usually went out in the evening and watched him play cricket. I developed initially love from there but the actual fire began when Imran Khan won the WC for Pakistan.

You have mentioned that your father has been a great inspiration in your career, what are the few qualities he instils in you that would like to share with our readers?

The most important quality I got from him was to Never Give up. I have seen him practice in snow, rain and hot and humid weather no matter what. Secondly, he always use to say Have faith in yourself. These two qualities stood out for me throughout my career until now. 

You used to be the only girl playing amongst the boys, were you ever intimidated?

No, I wasn’t. I believe at that time I was obsessed with the cricket that all I had on my mind was to just play and the school was the only outlet. I was so passionate I never thought what others would think I just played, lived and enjoyed the sport. 

Smashing opponents

Did you ever outdo the boys by taking their wickets?

Oh yes. Many times. When I was in 7th Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram were the face of cricket. I remember all I wanted to do was have a long run-up and run fast and bowl. A couple of times I did bowl boys out and follow up with Shoaib Akhtar’s celebrating action.

In the company of legends

You used to imitate bowling styles of your idols, what bowlers style did you most enjoy imitating?

 I loved doing it in the back of my yard. I could imitate many around the world but I loved doing Shoaib Akhtar, Mushtaq Ahmad and Shane Warne. 

How did you first get noticed and selected into the national team?

I went to give trails for the Lahore region team. Got selected. Then I played for 3 years. Made it to few Pakistan camps. Then in 2009 Pakistan A was to tour Hong Kong and I got selected and was the captain also I performed there, we won the series 3-0 and throughout after that, I got selected for Pakistan Team for the Ireland and T20 Worldcup straight away. 

cracking shot to the boundry

What is your fondest memory during your international career?

This one is hard really. There have been many over the years but the one close to my is definitely winning the Gold medal in 2010. The moment Pakistan ‘s Flag went up followed by the National Anthem was surreal. And realizing that you were the reason to make your country proud is the feeling beyond words. It still gives me goosebumps. 

Apart from cricket, we hear you are pretty good at shooting, do you have other passions too?

Well yes, I like shooting because of my family background. Other than that I love playing the piano. It is one of my passions. 

You became the first-ever female commentator in a male-dominated area, how did you achieve this?

I always had this liking towards commentary. But when I was in England for the Worldcup 2017, I was out giving an interview to Mel Jones. At that very moment, I looked around and realized that there are Australians, Indians, English Commentators but no one from Pakistan. At that moment I decided that once I leave cricket, I ll take on commentary. It wasn’t easy provided it is the first step. No one had taken it professionally. I went on to England privately and did my commentary course. Then I came back and I was lucky that PCB supported me and promoted me for women’s games initially. Recently I did Quaid E Azam trophy and National T20 cup. Again I faced some high eyebrows and sceptical views but Alhumduillah once they saw me and heard me, there were all praises. Many people admired me. But still, a long way to go.

You do know that you are now a role model to millions of girls across Pakistan, do you feel any pressure?

Not exactly. Growing up and taking sports as a profession and now as a commentator, I know how important it is to have some role model or at least a path and an image to look up to. I like to share and interact with young girls. I want to guide and encourage them to take on their dreams. To make them believe in themselves. To tell them that it is OK to opt for these fields or any field as to say as long as you are passionate about them. And to tell them that failures are part of it, not the end. Ultimately they will shine. 

Because of your good looks, some of your fans have suggested you should be a movie star, have you ever considered taking that path?

This is flattering. But I do have some gems of acting but I also realize it is a very hard field. And my passion is what I am doing right now. But you never know. Never say never (winks).

 If you had a choice, to play alongside a past or present player who will you choose?

 I am a huge fan of Kevin Pietersen. Growing up I watched him. I learned a lot of batting and shots from him and my teammates can relate many shots of mine with him. I would love to play alongside him. And I would love to face Shane Warne. 

How do you define success?

Success has many definitions. Success for me is the utmost satisfaction one achieves by knowing that he/she has honestly regarded his/her passion. And made sure that he/she has done justice to the talent Almighty has given him/her by working hard.No really focusing on the results and outcomes. They come eventually.