'VVS Laxman couldn’t figure out the deliveries bowled by Mohammad Asif' - Shoaib Akhtar recalls 2006 Karachi Test

Asif picked up seven wickets in the match.

VVS Laxman and Mohammad Asif
VVS Laxman and Mohammad Asif. (Photo Source: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

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India’s Test against Pakistan 2006 at Karachi would mostly be remembered for Irfan Pathan’s hat-trick in the very first over of the encounter. However, the visitors went on to lose the game by 341 and eventually the series 0-1. Kamran Akmal’s century bailed the home team out from the early jitters after which the bowlers came to the party, especially, speedster Mohammad Asif.

The pacer picked up seven wickets in the encounter, conceding only 126 runs. Most of the Indian batters had a tough time. Going down the memory lane, Shoaib Akhtar, who was a part of the encounter at the National Stadium, said how Asif managed to get under VVS Laxman’s skin.

“Did you acquire accuracy from practice or you always had it?” Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian cricketer, asked Shoaib while speaking on ESPNcricinfo videocast.

Akhtar feels that the likes of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Sami could have developed loads of variations had their careers spanned a tad longer. The Rawalpindi Express also put forth Asif’s example for demonstrating how to  make use of ‘bowling sense’.

He couldn’t figure out Mohammad Asif, says Akhtar

“This is a talent that you are usually born with, either you have bowling sense or not. For example, Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Asif. If these two bowlers had gone on to play for a longer period of time, they could bowl all kinds of deliveries.

“The world has seen me bowl. If you want to see the art of bowling, just observe Mohammad Asif – that is what you call bowling. VVS Laxman was frustrated in Karachi (2006) because he didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t figure out the deliveries that were being bowled to him,” Akhtar stated.

In that match, Asif rattled Laxman’s woodwork in both the innings and the batsman could score 19 and 21 respectively. India were bowled out for 265, chasing a mammoth 607.

Asif had also managed to ruffle AB de Villiers, the former South African batsman in the past. “Same was the case with AB de Villiers. So, the art of bowling is also a talent. You can practise and get accurate with your bowling, but not smartness,” he added.