The Best Fast Bowler I Ever Faced is Mohammad Asif – Hashim Amla
South African veteran batsman Hashim Amla has effusively praised Mohammad Asif, who appeared as the wily customer with the new and old ball for Pakistan. Interestingly, when asked who is the best fast bowler he has during his ongoing international career, Amla did not hesitate to say it was Asif. The prominent bowler brought down batters on their knees with his remarkable precision and above all the guile.
“Mohammad Asif is the best one [I faced], and [I know] he got banned for [spot] fixing but at that stage, he was the best fast bowler I’ve ever faced. He was not quick, 135kph maybe, but his accuracy was phenomenal,” Amla told SuperSport.
In 2010, Asif’s career received a massive jolt when he got subsequently charged in the spot-fixing saga in England. Following the episode, the reports in now-defunct News of the World tabloid suggested the trio plotted things during the Lord’s Test in August 2010. He faced the immediate ban alongside the then skipper Salman Butt and left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir.
Eventually, it led to the banning of Asif for five years. But unfortunately, the star bowler is yet to make a return to the national fold. Recently, Asif has been banking on some incredible performances in the first-class set-up.
Asif and accuracy:
In the recent past, Asif has not only inspired the youngsters but eventually won accolades from opponents for his impressive bowling. The 36-year-old Sheikhupura, Punjab-born star has carved out a niche since making his international debut against Australia at Sydney in January 2005.
During his career, Asif has earned a wide fan-base. He appeared to be one of the toughest bowlers to face irrespective of the conditions.
In the recent past, England Cricket Team veteran Kevin Pietersen alongside former Proteas skipper AB de Villiers has lavished praise on Asif for his resilience. Asif impressed many with the way of teasing the batsmen.
Amla revealed he had a chat with other professionals who felt the same about Asif. The Proteas batting stalwart has termed Asif as the ‘magician of the ball.’
“Funnily enough, as the years have gone by, meeting other cricketers from home, the world over, just loosely chatting… so many of the guys feel exactly the same thing. They said Mohammad Asif was a magician of the ball in a way,” Amla stated.
Asif left batters in a dilemma:
The right-handed Amla maintained he couldn’t understand which way the ball was going when Asif was bowling at him. He reminisced about the incident of 2007 when the Proteas were in Pakistan.
Amla often made things miserable for the bowlers with his solid technique. He asserted Asif has regularly tested batsman with his sheer consistency.
“We played him in South Africa and even in Pakistan in 2007. [If] he landed in the first stump I didn’t know if it was nipping away or nipping in… He tested your defence really, to the maximum,” Amla added.
Between 2005 and 2010, Asif featured in 38 One-day Internationals, 23 Tests and 11 Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan. He bagged 167 wickets across formats.
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