Pakistan’s Asjad Iqbal believes he can climb into the top 16 and win the World Championship, following some impressive performances during his first season on the pro tour.
Iqbal, age 31 from Sargodha in the Punjab province of Pakistan, earned a tour card by coming through Asia-Oceania Q School last June. A visa issue meant that he was not able to relocate to the UK until late 2022, and his first tournament was the Cazoo UK Championship where he knocked out Barry Pinches and Gerard Greene to reach the third qualifying round. Iqbal also reached the last 32 of the BetVictor Shoot Out last month. He now lives in Birmingham and practises at Masters Home of Snooker in Walsall, along with fellow Pakistani pro Muhammad Asif.
In his homeland, Iqbal worked for the National Bank’s snooker team; he would travel around the country playing matches against other company teams. But he has now made the huge commitment to leave his job, wife, friends and family to chase his dream by competing against the world’s best. And there is no doubting Iqbal’s ambition.
“Next year I would like to be in the top 16 and make a place for myself on the tour because I have worked hard,” he said. “I left my family, put my job at stake and came here. Now I want to make my future in professional snooker. My dream is to spend the rest of my life playing snooker. I want to make a place for myself among the top players, then win a big tournament like the World Championship, and make Pakistan proud.
“In Birmingham, it feels like I am at home, because there is a Pakistani community there. The best thing about living in England is that the rules and laws are the same for everyone. I miss my family in Pakistan, I had to leave them behind. I miss the food in Sargodha, which is like our California.”
At the BetVictor Shoot Out in Leicester, Iqbal gave a glimpse of his talent when he made a delightful 64 clearance to beat Jimmy Robertson. A video of that break has four million views on Facebook, indicating the level of interest in snooker in Pakistan.
“I enjoyed it a lot, because it was my first time playing in the Shoot Out,” he added. “I would like to see two or three tournaments like that every year because the public enjoy it. I made a good break which was watched by many people in Pakistan and around the world.”
Watch the full interview here: