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Updated - Jan 5, 2021 12:34 pm
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar claimed that South Africa’s AB de Villiers used to almost shed tears on the prospects of facing Mohammad Asif. The retired Proteas batsman bid adieu to international cricket way back in May 2018, but he is deemed to have the potential to still give the bowlers a nightmare.
In 114 Tests, the now 36-year-old hammered 8,765 runs at an average of 50.66. Apart from taking bowling attack to the cleaners, ABD also knew the art of putting his head down in critical match situations. Akhtar told how de Villiers and India’s VVS Laxman faced troubles in facing Asif.
“Even bigger than Wasim Akram, the guy that I’ve seen bowling is Mohammad Asif. I have actually seen batsmen crying while facing Asif. Laxman once said ‘how will I face this guy’, AB de Villiers literally started crying during the Asian Test Championship,” Akhtar was quoted as saying to Sports Today.
Akhtar also lauded Jasprit Bumrah, saying that the Indian pacer has variations in his armoury. “But I think after Asif, Bumrah is the smartest fast bowler presently. People were doubtful about his fitness in Test cricket, even I was watching him closely. He has a quick bouncer, is deceptive and sharp and a good character this guy is,” he stated.
In the meantime, earlier, Asif claimed that the current bunch of Pakistan fast bowlers, who are 17-18 years on paper, are actually 10 years older. Asif put forth his opinions on the basis that the speedsters couldn’t bowl longer spells and get tired.
“They are so aged. It is written as 17-18 years on paper, but they are actually 27-28 years old. They don’t have the flexibility to bowl 20-25 overs. They don’t know how to bend the body and they become stiff after a while. They are not able to stand on the field after bowling a 5-6 over spell,” Asif mentioned.
The Pakistan team are currently in New Zealand, playing the two-match Test series. The second and final Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch is currently taking place. At the end of the third day, Pakistan are trailing by 354 runs in their second innings with nine wickets in hand.