Islamabad United all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed has said that he uses criticism towards his game as a motivation to try harder and improve his game.
The 30-year-old batsman, despite his outstanding numbers in domestic competitions, at times comes off as an easy target, with critics picking on the fact that he does not look his age and that he does not have a set role in the side.
Iftikhar says that instead of feeling down due to criticism, he uses it to his own advantage.
“When I am criticised, I work harder,” he said. “I try to prove the critics wrong with my performances,” he is quoted as saying by The News in a video interview.
Iftikhar, who has played for a variety of PSL teams over the years but is back with Islamabad this year, also spoke of his latest team switch.
“It feels good,” he said of his decision to get reunited with Islamabad United. “I have played before for Islamabad [United] and won a title with them in Karachi. The support staff and the team management is very helpful. It was my wish to play for Islamabad United again. I hope that Islamabad [United] will lift the trophy again,” he added.
Iftikhar stroked a crucial 49 not out against Karachi Kings – for whom he turned out in 2016, 2019 and 2020 – to help United surmount a daunting 197-run target with five balls to spare in their second outing of the season. He struck three sixes and two fours and stitched a match-altering stand of 92 with Hussain Talat over his 37-ball knock.
Reflecting on that match, Iftikhar said: “As a professional, when you perform against any team, you get happy. I was in Karachi Kings for three years, so when I did well against them, it boosted my confidence.”
“My role as a middle-order batsman is to take the game deep and finish it. So, I try to build the innings by scoring run-a-ball early on and then increase my scoring rate,” he said.
This edition of the HBL PSL provides an opportunity to all the players to stake a claim in the national side for the T20 World Cup later this year. Iftikhar is eyeing a spot. “I have been part of the national team’s set-up for the past two years and I am determined to represent Pakistan in the T20 World Cup,” he said.