Pakistan batting sensation Asif Ali, who has grabbed headlines with his six-hitting prowess in last two T20 World Cup matches was once criticized, abused for the same skills. His technique was called flawed & completely rubbish. Asif is on SIX hitting spree in the T20 World Cup – but says it is hard to forget that abuse & criticism.
“The statsmen will only tell you that you have scored 10 runs from three innings (13 runs from three innings),” Asif commented in press interaction “But they ignore the fact that you’ve played only two or three balls of the last over. I was badly abused & criticized by everyone, but I never paid any attention to it. I stay away from social media”
The 30-year-old’s selection for the T20 World Cup squad had caused an uproar in Pakistani media, with many terming his inclusion as “flawed”. He was often guilty of letting the team down in international matches in the past.
- His best score of 41 against Zimbabwe had come in July 2018, and he failed to reach double digit scores from his last four innings.
- At the international level before the World Cup, Asif had a modest strike rate of 123.74 from 29 T20Is.
- In domestic T20s, Asif boasted off a strike-rate of 147.02 in 203 matches.
“In my last series (versus Zimbabwe and South Africa), I played at no 6. It’s a difficult position, if you don’t do well, they just pull out the numbers without getting into details and challenges faced in the middle-order.”
The Islamabad United batsman further said he had earned his place on the merit of his form.
“I was in and out of the team, but the team wanted me and I was recalled. I was focused on my job. I was playing all the (franchise) leagues around the world, and also the domestic cricket,” Asif said.
“I was in fine touch with my game. So, it was obvious that I could play because I was performing,” he said.
He credited his turnaround to sheer hardwork at the nets where he had specifically asked the management to prepare him for death overs.
I did a hell lot of practice for this finisher’s role. Earlier I would go and just bat at the nets but then I spoke to the coaches and asked them to prepare me in practice sessions as if I were batting in the final five-six overs,” Asif said.
“I did a lot of hard work after struggling in the last few series. You are seeing its result now. I’m really happy with the way the management worked with me and you’re seeing the results. Our focus is firmly on winning the World Cup.”
“The boundary on the on-side was smaller from the end in that 19th over. But they bowled wide on the off side and that’s where I ended up hitting sixes at the bigger boundary. That wasn’t exactly the plan, but I just hit the balls I got.
“I kept telling Shoaib Malik we’d target this end, but unfortunately he ended up getting out. Thankfully, we ended up winning the match,” Asif Ali said.
He also thanked his former coach and ex-Pakistan captain Misbah Ul Haq for the turnaround.
“I want to thank Misbah with whom I started my career in Faisalabad and later at SNGPL. Then I played under him when he became coach of Pakistan. He worked very hard with me and I’ll always be grateful to him. All my coaches have worked with me and I’m thankful to them,” he signed off.
From being abused, Asif is now getting new names – Harsha Bhogle has called him ‘INSANE HITTER’, Shahid Afridi said he is ‘BOOM BOOM ASIF ALI’