Although Aquib Javed joined the national cricket team in 1988, his finest hour came in the Sharjah Cup in 1991 when he took the Indians to task. For a paltry 37 runs, he stalked seven Indian players. From then on there was no looking back for him as he terrorized all the leading batsmen of his times with his calculated fast bowling.
Born in Sheikhupura, Aquib’s father was a lover of cricket and encouraged his son to play the game. Aquib played cricket at school and slowly cricket became a passion. Later he joined Islamia College, Civil Lines, Lahore, where he devoted all his energies towards this game. Lady luck smiled on him as he made it to the Under 19 cricket team.
Narrating the story about his entry into the Under 19 team, Aquib states, “I attended a bowling camp at Qaddafi stadium where Wasim Raja was inspecting the budding bowlers. Almost three thousands young bowlers were there to try their luck. Fortunately, Wasim Raja recommended me. Later I also participated in the Under 19 World Cup in Australia in 1988. Then Muddasir Nazar saw me bowling and he told Imran Khan about me. Imran liked my bowling action and it was his trust in me that helped me to join the national team in 1988.”
Thus commenced a brilliant career of Aquib that ended, perhaps too early, in 1998 because he still had a lot of spark left in him. He goes on toe candidly disclose the causes that led to his ouster, “I left the cricketing world due to the nasty malaise of match fixing. I know that I could play for almost five more years. But my approach towards game has always been very positive and I played cricket on certain principles. I left the arena because I did not want to tarnish my clean image.”
After retirement, he coached the junior players of the Under 19, helping them to pocket the World Cup trophy. He is also the one who laid down the foundations of Regional Cricket System at the domestic level so that new players could avail more chances to enter the national side.
He likes to read sports-related magazines. The columns of Zaheer Abbas and Islahuddin also give him food for thought. Heavyweights poets like Iqbal and Faiz too appeal to him. But the one book that has changed his way of thinking is Friendship With God by Neil Donalds.
Analysing this book he says, “It has changed my life to the hilt. It tells us that God can be your friend. You do not need to fear him. I have learnt a vital lesson from the book that God loves those who support His system. So one must live and let others live peacefully. I read this book off and on. After going through the book life seems to be very easy and happy.”
Aquib went to a cinema with his chums when he was in Class Seven to watch Qurbani in Sheikhupura. When he moved to Lahore, he thronged Plaza and Alfalah cinema halls to watch English flicks. Being a part of the national team, he travelled extensively and watched films in theatres in India, Australia, England and many other countries.
As you corner him to name his favourite movie, he chooses My Best Friends Wedding without second thoughts. He also hastens to add that Julia Roberts is his favourite actress. “The film tallies completely with my philosophy. So I simply adore it,” he justifies his choice.
Of other movies, he gives credit to Black, Rang de Basanti, Paheli, Devdas and Sholay. Like any other film buff, he too is all praises for top guns like Amitabh, Om Puri, Naseedruddin Shah and Nana Patekar.
He watched a movie in an Indian cinema recently and says, “I watched Rang de Basanti in India and found that their cinemas are neat and the atmosphere is so civilized. There were more females in the hall as compared to males.”
He calls for a change in our cinema culture and opines that at present our industry is catering to the needs of the lower middle class by churning out trashy films. In order to produce good movies we need to have clean cinema halls first to allure the educated class. Joint productions with India, in his opinion, must be initiated in order to benefit from each other’s expertise. To judge the worth of any society one must watch its sports and films, he declares.
As for the Lollywood movies, Aquib only mentions Syed Noor’s Choorian with some admiration.
His taste in music has changed a lot over the years. His father used to listen to the likes of Talat Mahmood and Saigol. The atmosphere at home provided him a chance to develop a liking for all types of music. The maestros Rafi, Kishore, Lata, Asha Bhosle, Nusrat Fateh Ali, Mehdi Hasan, Fareeda Khanum and Jagjit Singh, stir his heart with their melodious voices. Abrar, Jawad and Atif Aslam are his choice from the pop music scene.
“I don’t like Junoon at all. In my view they are a bit ‘over’,” he states. Similarly, he does not approve of Madam Noorjehan at all. These days, Nusrat Fateh Ali is his companion when he drives his car. His philosophic Tum Aik Gorakh Dhandha Ho puts Aquib in trance.
To while away his leisure hours, he watches ESPN, National Geographic, etc. The emergence of private channels thrills him and he terms it a good omen. “Over the years, PTV has failed to adapt to modern times.
I cannot tolerate some of the stuff that is aired on PTV. The emergence of new channels is great for the viewers. Private channels are not afraid of anyone so they show you the real picture. On the other hand, the officials of PTV are only doing their mundane jobs,” says Aquib fervently.
He does not have any regrets in life and feels that apart from hard work, luck does count a lot. One could not help but ask him what he would have been had he not been a cricketer?
“I wanted to become a cricketer only. I used to practice almost ten hours a day. So I never thought about becoming anything other than a cricketer,” pat comes the reply.