Stories about Mohammad Asif

Pakistan vs Australia: This was clearly not like the 1992 World Cup

If you have ever fallen in love, the kind of love that makes you feel the blood rushing through your veins for the first time, then you know what it is like to be a Pakistani cricket fan. We all have our afflictions, and for Pakistan it is cricket. Cricket is our choice of drug. No matter how much it hurts, the next time it is on, we will be watching for our fix. Every World Cup, I promise myself not to get my hopes up too high. I rationalise it in my mind. Even if all the statistics, the form, ...

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My interview with Misbahul Haq, Waqar Younis and Moin Khan

For the third time, I check my voice recorder to make sure the device is in operational order.   Yes, it is fine. Of course it is fine. I wipe away my sweaty palms on the fabric of my jeans and allow myself a few deep breaths. This will be the biggest interview I’ve ever conducted. I am sitting in a small conference room at the Pakistan cricket team hotel in Brisbane, Australia, waiting for captain Misbahul Haq, coach Waqar Younis, and chief selector Moin Khan. Determined to put my admiration for these three individuals aside, I try to focus. After all, a cricket ...

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Through the eyes of a fanatic: Pakistan, the World Cup enigma

Cricket is a game for the fanatic. You don’t like the sport, you love it. You sacrifice sleep, plead for divine intervention, wield undying beliefs and hold faith that despite needing eight runs of the last ball, a simple wide can make magic happen. Such is the power of a bat and ball. Such is the nature of the game that despite our efforts to turn predictions into facts and to drown ourselves in a frenzy of statistics, the sport remains as unpredictable as it was in 1992. It has been four years since India won the World Cup, 23 since Australia ...

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Yes Ramiz Raja, Amir does deserve a second chance

Ramiz Raja is Pakistan’s most famous voice at the commentary box during a cricket match. His in-depth analysis of matches clearly depicts his love for the game. As an international cricketer, he played between 1984 and 1997 – a career that spanned for 13 years. He played 57 Test matches and 198 ODIs, and also captained the team for a brief moment. Moreover, he was a part of the World Cup winning side in 1992. Since his retirement in 1997, he has played an integral part in making policies on countless occasions, in official and unofficial capacity. But above all, I believe that Ramiz’s biggest trait ...

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Misbahul Haq for 2015 World Cup Captain!

November 3, 2011 was arguably the darkest day in the history of Pakistan cricket. Former Test captain Salman Butt, along with the sensational pace duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had packed their bags to complete their respective times in prison after being caught cheating the gentleman’s game by means of spot fixing. Considering that team Pakistan was already deprived of the luxury of playing at home, it seemed highly likely that cricket had lost one of its most enigmatic sporting nation. However, the cricketing god’s had other plans for the men in green. Fast forward to November 3, 2014, ...

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Ban the bowlers, ban them all!

After depriving the world of the most glorious sight in international cricket – Saeed Ajmal in all his grace, splendour and beauty giving an interview to Nasser Hussain after a match – the ICC plans to throw the book at bowlers. I welcome this hard-line decision taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter; if only these regulations had come a few years earlier, Kachra would never have been able to win the match for the farmers and the British could have enjoyed imposing dugna lagaan. Had they banned Imran Khan, our politics would have been deprived of the numerous cricket analogies ...

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What? Why? How?! Saeed Ajmal…

As I sit here, I type this in disbelief.  Saeed Ajmal has been banned. Read that statement. Allow it to sink in. Have you managed to wrap your head around it? Does it hurt? If you’re a cricket lover you can feel the loss. If you’re a Pakistan cricket fan, your world has just been ripped apart and any semblance of world cup victory dreams have now been shattered in front of your very eyes. Where is the justice in this world? How did the International Cricket Council (ICC) clear him in the past only to go back on their previous statements? Are we ...

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Can Saeed Ajmal break the ‘curse’ of being the best bowler of Pakistan?

Over the course of several decades, one constant factor in Pakistan cricket has been the quality bowlers it has produced. From masters of reverse swing to the fastest bowler in the world, and from subtle drifters to the inventor and master of the ‘doosra’, Pakistani cricketers have added magic to the art of bowling. Cricket would be a much different game without the bowling contributions of our players. It would have been more of a batsman’s game with much less flair. But at the same time, to be the best bowler of Pakistan is a truly cursed position. Our masters ...

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Dale Steyn: The best fast bowler ever!

While the whole cricket fraternity was going gaga over Dale Steyn’s bowling heroics during the second Test match of the last series played between South Africa and Australia, a couple of my friends came up with a peculiar yet interesting theory. According to them, due to the dearth of good fast bowlers in Test cricket, batsmen, in general, have become complacent, and as a consequence, their techniques have become more vulnerable against top quality swing bowling. Some very good bowlers, taking advantage of the technical deficiencies of modern batsmen, have mustered up career figures that are comparable to the best of all time, even if ...

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Misbahul Haq, only second to Imran Khan and Javed Miandad as captain!

On January 14, 2013, I wrote a piece stressing the fact that Misbah is very much a necessity for Pakistan’s One Day International (ODI) cricket. I argued that Misbah has been far better than his colleagues and should not be dropped, predicting that he will fine tune his game-plan and will improve as a batsman. Well, as it turns out, Misbah has indeed stepped up his game since then. Misbahul Haq of Pakistan bats during the ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on March 21, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Photo: AFP Almost a year ...

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