MO ZUBAIR’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE TOP JOURNALIST:ASIF KHAN
THE TOP JOURNALIST:ASIF KHAN, On the writing of this blog Bangladesh has just confirmed to tour Pakistan, Journalists like Asif Khan have played a major role in bringing back international cricket to the country through positive journalism, helping change peoples views on the country to positive. On this edition of Cricktalk20, We have the pleasure and honour to have Pakistan’s Top cricket journalist, the Karachi based global traveller Mr Asif Khan, A man who has seen it all in Pakistan cricket, he give a candid talk to Mo Zubair.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Tell us a little about yourself?
Nothing much to tell really, I had the knack of reading newspapers from an early age with interest in history and current affair, especially sports. Although, I started off as a software developer in 1999 however wasn’t comfortable there. In 2001 got a spot in a software development company which had its office in Daily Dawn’s building were in about a year I started working with the Dawn newspaper’s website’s team. My job was to maintain the technical side however my interest was in the editing of the news and headline etc. I tried my hands on writing on sports from there. By 2002, the first private TV channel, Indus News was launched and the next year I went there for a part-part opening of sub-editors post at their English news desk. My interview went really well and I got the evening job. After the morning job, I would rush to Indus News for their 7pm English news bulletin. That was challenging to start with but soon I got the hang of it. I stared loving the job and unlike my morning work, there was only day-to-day business and no pending job to do (the aspect I still love). I kept doing two jobs in a day for two and a half years and meanwhile spent more than my required time at the news channel and chipping in in other departments like Tickers, video editing, voice-overs and news production etc as well. It was in February 2004 when my very first sports article was published in a renowned English paper, “The News”, this practice is still continuing and now I contribute to various papers, websites and magazines. In the mid of 2005 I got an offer from another TV channel, Business Plus TV, they asked me to join them as news shift In-charge as well as sports editor and from there on I parted ways from the morning’s IT job. The wheel started to roll and in 2009 I moved to News One TV as the sports head and anchor and I’m still with the same company. I did move to Pakistan Television for a brief period however return in eight months. I have travelled to various countries to carryout my professional responsibilities.
You are one of the top cricket journalists in Pakistan, tell us what has been one of the most challenging issues you have had to face while covering the national team?
No challenge as such! Actually, there are certain protocols which have to be followed and these days communication is not that difficult. What a journalist needs from the national side? Of course the know-how of the happenings and for that, he/she requires access to team player or official. There are two ways of doing it, either go through the proper channel and seek permission from the media department to reach out to an athlete or official. The second way is to build a personal relationship with players/officials to get stories. It’s not a challenge, it is the actual job.
Pakistan is a cricket-mad nation, as a journalist, you have firsthand experience of the fans, tell us what cricket means to this fans?
To be honest, cricket means only win, to a large chunk of the National team’s fans. Almost every Pakistan cricket fan has an opinion about every aspect of the game and there is an obvious intolerance, as well, amongst fans. They become chairman, selector, captain and whatnot. But, that’s what makes us a cricket-crazy nation.
What steps according to you should be taken by the PCB to make Pakistan a regular destination for international cricket?
Look, it’s not the sole responsibility or mandate of the cricket board which works in close coordination with the government and law enforcement agencies. If the country’s law and order situation is satisfactory (which is the case at the moment) then it becomes relatively easier for the cricket board to present its case confidently before the cricketing world. On the diplomatic front, the PCB has to be in ready touch with relevant quarters and has to keep them informed about the ground situation.
Which young players do you see doing well for the Pakistan national team in the future?
Nasim Shah is an obvious name comes to mind in this regard however there are other youngsters too such as Musa Khan, Muhammad Hasnain, Umer Khan etc there are other young players in the domestic circuit too such as Rohail Nazir, the U19 captain, Muhammad Mohsin, Haider Ali, Imran Butt, Faizan Riaz, Saim Ayub, Muhammad Taha, Jahanzeb Sultan etc. There are a number of potentially good players in the circuit.
During all your years covering cricket what has been your best memory to date?
I am a witness to Pakistan’s 3-0 whitewash against the then number one Test side England in the UAE in 2012. Pakistan were not favourites however against all the odds they beat Andrew Strauss’ England comprehensively. It was a historic triumph and I still feel goosebumps by recalling that ambience.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
I try to read and follow good stuff with solid content despite going for names attached to it. As such, I don’t look up to a single individual but admire and learn from content-filled pieces by them. One day I like a writer for a piece, the other day I admire a presenter for an informative TV show so it’s as simple as that.
What is your secret for success?
The nature of my job is to continue moving forward. This is actually the beauty of this profession where there is no yesterday. It’s an ongoing process, today we get the success by touching the right channel for a piece of news but it gets over the same day. The key is to keep your feet grounded and keep on striving to standout with honesty.
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