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  1. #1
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    "I feel the improvements and am definitely a better batsman than before" : Asif Ali

    Known for his aggressive style of batting in the shorter formats, Asif Ali made his international debut in 2018 and has since then represented Pakistan on 43 occasions. The tragic death of his young daughter in 2019 seemed to have a devastating effect on him and his career but his form has picked up recently wherein he scored 398 runs in 7 games during the Pakistan Cup.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Asif spoke about his recent experience of playing in the T10 League, the dark times he endured after the death of his daughter, reasons for his lacklustre performances during the 2019 World Cup, the benefits of playing in leagues around the world and his thoughts on being selected for the T20I series against South Africa.



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    PakPassion.net: This was your first experience of playing in the T10 League, whatís your opinion about this form of cricket?

    Asif Ali:
    Whilst this was my first experience of playing in the T10 League, I had previously watched this tournament on television and was convinced that this type of short format would suit my game perfectly. So, I was very excited about playing in the T10 League once I was given the chance by the Qalandars.


    PakPassion.net: Is the T10 league the future of cricket?

    Asif Ali:
    I believe that like all other leagues which are being played around the world, the T10 League is doing a great job by promoting local talent and that alone makes this tournament very special. The fact that many UAE players have been involved in this league is excellent news for the promotion of cricket in the country and I gave any advice I could to my UAE teammates as I feel that it was my duty to do that. All in all, the tournament has gone from strength to strength each year since its inception and I am sure it will continue to do so in future.


    PakPassion.net: How impressed were you with the Qalandars side that you represented at the T10 League?

    Asif Ali:
    The management at Qalandars are people I am very familiar with and the way they took care of us in this tournament was nothing short of fantastic.


    PakPassion.net: How hard was it to continue playing cricket after the loss of your daughter?

    Asif Ali:
    Those were very tough times for me and my family. I try not to think too much about it and have tried my best to move on from that tragedy. Looking back, I know that my late daughter was like a good luck charm for me because I feel that my career took off the day she was born. It was her presence that allowed me to make a name for myself in world cricket but when she passed away, I was a lost soul. I even got to play in the 2019 World Cup a month after her passing away, based upon my performance in the ODI series against England, but as anyone would have seen, I was just going through the motions. My feelings then were that my life and career was going to end with my daughterís death. But thanks to the Almightyís blessings, since the arrival of my son in this world in December of last year, things have looked up for me once again. My performances in the Pakistan Cup which included scores of 66, 76, 88 and 127 were very fulfilling for me and it seems that the birth of my son who has also brought me good luck.


    PakPassion.net: Did being moved around the batting order for Pakistan hinder your progress?

    Asif Ali:
    No that isnít true at all as I have always considered it an honour to have played for Pakistan. It didnít matter at what position I batted as my only job was to serve my country. Never did it cross my mind to question or worry about my position in the batting order and my only concern was to do the best for my team. In fact, I cannot think of any player who would have a complaint like that when playing for his country. All decisions about batting positions are not just made at the drop of a hat but are clearly communicated to the player before the game so ample time is given for the player to plan his innings in advance. In my case, I knew I would bat in the last few overs and I would practice and prepare myself mentally according to that situation. One must also know that there is no such thing as a permanent place in any team, and you can be excluded if you do not perform well. Obviously, there is pressure when you make a comeback after a period of time and that is what happened in my case too. When I did make my comeback during the trip to England before the 2019 World Cup, I knew very well that I would be out of the side if I did not do well and unfortunately, that is what happened as my scores during the tournament werenít that great. But since then, I have worked hard and am grateful to have been offered a chance for another comeback in the T20I series against South Africa.


    PakPassion.net: Was the fact that there was pressure on you to perform in the role of a finisher that possibly caused you to not perform as well as you could have?

    Asif Ali:
    Look there will always be pressure on you when you play cricket at any level. You are playing the wrong game if you find it difficult to handle pressure, regardless of whether you are batsman or a bowler. To be honest, I was quite pleased and honoured when the responsibility of being a middle-order batsman who could take the innings to a close was placed on me. When you are playing as an opener, all that is expected of you is to put up a good opening stand but when you are a middle-order batsman, the expectation is that you will finish the innings or take the team to a win in a run-chase.

    So, in my case, instead of putting pressure on myself, I was happy that the Pakistan team was placing their trust in me to deliver. Of course, people will say things about you, but I donít bother with what others think about me. And if I do read something about myself which is negative, I use that as motivation for myself to improve and perform better when I get the chance to play for my country.


    PakPassion.net: There was a feeling that you should have continued playing for Northern in the Pakistan Cup instead of participating in the T10 League.

    Asif Ali:
    I played 7 matches in the Pakistan Cup this year and scored 398 runs which consisted of one century and three fifties, so I did prove myself in that tournament. I was offered an opportunity to play in a well-known and good standard tournament which attracts top quality players from around the world. I felt that I could learn a lot from playing alongside some top names and also get financial rewards which was a good outcome for me. My domestic side, Northern, and the PCB had no objections to my going over to play in this tournament, so this is something which was allowed and not something I did without permission.


    PakPassion.net: What would you put down as the reason behind your less than satisfactory performances for Pakistan in the past?

    Asif Ali:
    My daughterís illness played a huge role in how I performed. I cannot explain in words how I got through the period where my daughter was ill and whilst at the same time, I was also part of the Pakistan side. I recall that in those days, I would stay awake all night thinking about my daughterís health. But I am also thankful to the Almighty that he relieved her pain as I like any other parent could not bear to see her in that condition.


    PakPassion.net: You must have been saddened by the death of the Late Dean Jones who supported you a lot during your association with him at Islamabad United?

    Asif Ali:
    It was shocking for me to hear about his passing away as he and I used to communicate a lot and he would give me advice at all times. I remember that he would chat with me before I left to play in any tournament outside Pakistan. He would always wish me luck and I still have his messages on my phone which I look at for inspiration. I was playing at the CPL in 2020 when he messaged me a few days before his death.

    He always wished me well and even though he had moved to Karachi Kings, he continued to look after me. During our association at Islamabad United, he told me about aspects of cricket which I had never thought about and which are beneficial to me to this day. He was a great human being and always supported me. It was the confidence that he had in me which really helped me become a better player for which I will always be grateful to Deano.


    PakPassion.net: What was the reason behind your good form at Northern during the 2020/21 domestic season?

    Asif Ali:
    I have put in a lot of work on my game in recent times, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period where I was at home. I worked on my shot selection as before I could mostly score in front of the wicket or on the offside. The problem I had was that I was limited in my scoring areas but thankfully I have now worked on this and applied it not only in the National T20 and the Pakistan Cup but also during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as well. In fact, during the 4-Day games, I made sure I played my innings for as long as I could to practice my shot selection.

    I also did not go to the Lanka Premier League as I wanted to concentrate on making sure that my shot selection improved in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. I saw a lot of improvement in my game this season as compared to about 4 years ago when I last played a full season of 4-Day cricket, so it seems that my hard work on my batting as well as on my fitness has paid off. The most important thing is that a player needs to feel improvement in his game, and I have felt that this year and I am definitely a better batsman than before.


    PakPassion.net: How big a loss is it for Northern to lose Mohammad Wasim as Head Coach?

    Asif Ali:
    Itís definitely been a huge loss for us as he had made a lot of effort in making Northern a well-oiled unit. Whenever a Head Coach or a leader of a side is changed mid-season then the new person will bring in his own style of management and the players donít necessarily take too well to this change and there can be issues as all concerned get used to each other. In my case, I had been playing under Mohammad Wasim for about 2 years and he knew exactly how to get the best out of me, and I also knew about his nature and style of coaching. I also noticed that the players were a little uncomfortable with the changes especially during mid-season, but I suppose change is always difficult to adjust to and this will all settle down in time.


    PakPassion.net: How does playing in different leagues around the world help in the development of any cricketer?

    Asif Ali:
    Itís important for any cricketer to get a good idea of playing in different conditions around the world and these leagues are a great way to gain experience. In my case, I have played for 2 years in the Mzansi Super League in South Africa where I learnt a lot about the types of surfaces that they have there. So, playing in different parts of the world teaches you a lot about your game and shows you where you lack skills and what you need to do to improve.

    After having experienced playing in leagues around the world, you gain a lot of confidence about your own abilities. You also get a chance to meet some of the worldís top players and learn from their experiences as well which does help your game too. From what I hear of the experience of players participating in County Cricket, it seems that being an overseas professional puts a lot of pressure on you and if you can do well there, then it automatically makes you a better player and helps you in your career.


    PakPassion.net: How do you feel about your return to the Pakistan squad for the T20I series against South Africa?

    Asif Ali:
    I was very much looking forward to this opportunity because I was really focussed during the domestic season towards making a comeback to the national side. I declined the chance to play in the Lanka Premier League as I wanted to put in the effort at home and then see how things panned out for me. Whilst I didnít perform as well as I wanted to in the 4-Day games, I was very pleased with my performances during the National T20 Cup and Pakistan Cup and it seems my efforts have been recognized for which I am very thankful.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  2. #2
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    Glad to know heís been blessed with a son. May God make Asifís path easy.

  3. #3
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    Wish him well. If he is really keen to make an international career then he will need to score tons on runs in the 4 days games in domestic cricket.

    I personally dont like T20 specialists.

  4. #4
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    Glad to know he's been blessed with a son after what he went through losing his daughter. That was tragic.

    Onto the cricket now and I don't think he's international quality. Should not have been selected

  5. #5
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    Good stats in the Pakistan Cup and sooner rather than later we will see whether the improvements he has made have done the trick or not.

    Good time to come back for him, against a very weak South African T20 squad.



  6. #6
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    Would have been good if he after being dropped also went to work with Mohammad Yusuf like Faheem and made any technical changes needed.not fully convinced by just the pakistan cup numbers that he is any better than before, we saw many people get lots of runs in some games including Khurram Manzoor, Sahibzada Farhan, etc.

  7. #7
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    I wasn't necessarily interested in reading his interview but it was a brilliant one. He seems to be a mature and measured person. A lot of positive attitude there. His daughter's demise was extremely tragic and must have affected his performance and focused. Good to hear him being in a better state of mind now. Wish him well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza619 View Post
    Wish him well. If he is really keen to make an international career then he will need to score tons on runs in the 4 days games in domestic cricket.

    I personally dont like T20 specialists.
    Especially the ones who also drop catches. Like he did in the World cup which cost us the match against Australia. BTW also failed with bat in that World cup.

  9. #9
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    His personal tragedies aside, the reality is that he is not good enough for international cricket. We have seen enough of him.

    Low quality leagues like the T10, PSL etc. are his standard.

    Anyone with such pathetic and embarrassing record in FC and LA cannot be a quality batsman especially at his age.

    He is officially 29 but in reality he is 32-33. Even if we assume that he is 29, it is still far too late for him.

    Pakistan would be better off investing in a dozen other batsmen.

    It is a bad call to pick him for the South African series. They have a very weak bowling attack and if he can fluke a few runs he will cement his place and it will cost Pakistan in the WT20.

    M. Wasim continues to make average calls and show lack of vision. Too many colorful charts and graphs and very little substance.

  10. #10
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    Asif's biggest problem is his inability to play a long innings. Nobody doubts his hitting ability.

    Anyway those were actually some intelligent, well thought out answers instead of the banal statements we often get from players.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    His personal tragedies aside, the reality is that he is not good enough for international cricket. We have seen enough of him.

    Low quality leagues like the T10, PSL etc. are his standard.

    Anyone with such pathetic and embarrassing record in FC and LA cannot be a quality batsman especially at his age.

    He is officially 29 but in reality he is 32-33. Even if we assume that he is 29, it is still far too late for him.

    Pakistan would be better off investing in a dozen other batsmen.

    It is a bad call to pick him for the South African series. They have a very weak bowling attack and if he can fluke a few runs he will cement his place and it will cost Pakistan in the WT20.

    M. Wasim continues to make average calls and show lack of vision. Too many colorful charts and graphs and very little substance.
    Ab M. Wasim ka number aanay laga hai. In before he becomes your next target.

  12. #12
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    M. Wasim is picking squads to please hyper fans and win cheap praise from YouTube panel. I don’t see any vision or planning in his selection. Good presentation skills though.

    Hopefully we get rid of him when the other Wasim leaves and goes back to the UK. Both are out of their depth in their respective roles.
    Last edited by MenInG; 11th February 2021 at 10:46.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    M. Wasim is picking squads to please hyper fans and win cheap praise from YouTube panel. I donít see any vision or planning in his selection. Good presentation skills though.

    Hopefully we get rid of him when the other Wasim leaves and goes back to the UK. Both are out of their depth in their respective roles.
    Lol...very predictable.
    Mohammad wasem is here to stay and I only see his role expanding in Pakistan cricket, and for good reason.
    Because of that he will become your next target, and that, going by your posting history, will serve as validation for him doing his job well.
    Last edited by Pacy with wisdom; 11th February 2021 at 02:42.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacy with wisdom View Post
    Lol...very predictable.
    Mohammad wasem is here to stay and I only see his role expanding in Pakistan cricket, and for good reason.
    Because of that he will become your next target, and that, going by your posting history, will serve as validation for him doing his job well.
    Asif should have never been selected in the first place, but our corrupt system made that happen and now with such terrible domestic record, we have selected him again. I can't believe that a person like you who claims to have worked out with some Pakistani players and have played cricket, can't see how questionable his selections are. Mohd Wasim is a yes man, always was, always will be. Use your sources if you have any to find out the real truth about him.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    M. Wasim is picking squads to please hyper fans and win cheap praise from YouTube panel. I donít see any vision or planning in his selection. Good presentation skills though.

    Hopefully we get rid of him when the other Wasim leaves and goes back to the UK. Both are out of their depth in their respective roles.
    Lol, yeah Iím sure this is top of mind when heís selecting a squad. Tell us who you would select or what youíd like to see differently. Wait, I already know the answer: ďitís not my job as Iím not the chief selectorĒ in which case you shouldnít be commenting at all. Youíre the guy who sucks the life out of everything, always negative always complaining but offering no solutions whatsoever other than more complaining.

  16. #16
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    Thread is about Asif.


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  17. #17
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    If he has improved it will be tough to gauge them in a t20 match . If he is playing as a finisher then he will most likely have about 20 balls max unless their is a dramatic collapse .

    There is no doubt of his hitting ability but itís usually his shot selection that has been his down fall, and his inability to build an innings wonít be exposed if he is coming with very little time left in an innings.

    Faheemís improvements wonít have been noticed if he was coming with very little time left to bat in a t20 match.

    Good luck him to him though.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Asif's biggest problem is his inability to play a long innings. Nobody doubts his hitting ability.

    Anyway those were actually some intelligent, well thought out answers instead of the banal statements we often get from players.
    I would say he has two big problems, lacks brains and big game temperament. Neither are easy fixes so I am sceptical about this new found improvement.


    I for one welcome our new In____ overlords - Kent Brockman

  19. #19
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    they all talk big, but do pretty much the same or worse at times when the opportunity comes...

  20. #20
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    Everyone talking about his hitting ability, donít forget that he cannot play the short ball to save his life. Watch the Australia World Cup game, New Zealand t20s and many many other examples. Heís a front foot hacker and got found out really quick. I didnít read him saying heís improved that aspect of his game, so seems like a waste of time even taking about it


  21. #21
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    I don’t think he is international standard but for T20s he isn’t the worst selection. He is capable of getting a quick 30 which could change a game. Only problem is how often will it happen and the quality of the opponents.

  22. #22
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    They may as well play him in the 3rd T20I against South Africa as he can't do any worse than the others.



  23. #23
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    Asif Ali makes his comeback in this series decider. Let's see if such improvements produce tangible results


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  24. #24
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    He is a mediocre player who is simply bot good enough for international cricket. He should not have played a single international match to begin with!

  25. #25
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    Has a chance to make a good comeback - needs to give Babar some good support.


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  26. #26
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    Asif lofts it right into the hands of long-on.



    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  27. #27
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    Tried and tested failure, fails yet again. Just not international material. The likes of him/khushdil/ifti Chacha should just stick to domestics and leagues

  28. #28
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    How many times?

    Seriously how many times?

  29. #29
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    Same trash being recycled over and over.

  30. #30
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    And he has failed for the 100th time but we will still try for the 101th time to unlock the power-hitting beast that doesnít reside within him.

    A message to Misbah, Babar and PowerPoint:

    Please, for the love of God, no matter how difficult it may be, accept the fact that Asif Ali is a dreadful batsman who is not good enough for international cricket in any format in any position in any role.

    Please.

  31. #31
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    I thought his international career was over yet he made a comeback somehow.

    He's not an international level player, the sooner our management realise the better it is. Moreover, I don't know why I always feel his cricketing intelligence and IQ level is very low.

  32. #32
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    Out caught on the boundary after a couple balls who would've thought...

  33. #33
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    Rubbish cricketer

  34. #34
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    Highest level of delusion is observed in our cricketers. N number of comebacks and keep getting out in a similar manner each time.

  35. #35
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    Needs to have a good PSL to salvage his career for Pakistan.


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  36. #36
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    Oh dear, another failure for Asif.



    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  37. #37
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    as said earlier, yeh sab khilaari agar dholakiyey hotay, to khoob kamyaab hotay, inay apna dhol peetna khoob aata hai, bas ground mein jab matter karta hai, us waqt ye sab thus ho jatay hain

  38. #38
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    why all pak big hitter always find the fielder, why can't they hit in gaps

  39. #39
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    Doesn't have temperament unfortunately. Not sure what is going on between the eyes.

  40. #40
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    Itís just 1-2 games since his comeback. Wait at least a couple more to see how heís doing for Pakistan and Islamabad. Was doing quite well for Northern.

  41. #41
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    Asif Ali with a much better performance today, performing his job to perfection! 21* (9), came in to finish the chase, and he did just that. Dispatched Mohammad Amir with ease.


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  42. #42
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    Fair Play. Good little innings today.

    But will need to prove himself a whole lot more if he wants a place in the Pakistan squad, same with Sharjeel Khan. One innings does not depict one's worth.

    Show that you are consistent and you will earn a call up

  43. #43
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    He is such a crisp striker. If only he knew how to play low risk cricket as well.

  44. #44
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    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  45. #45
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    Was hitting amir like he was a amatuer bowler.lets see how he does in the remaining matches.

  46. #46
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    When has this guy ever scored a 40(10) or even come close? Hales won the match. If it wasnít for his early onslaught against KK this guy would have been caught at long on for a duck.

  47. #47
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    The haters disappearing and only really waiting to reappear later on. His entire role is based on high risk cricket ó if he comes off in even 6/10 games thatís a success. I still think he had more issues mentality wise than technique wise because of his unfortunate tragedy. May he achieve lots of success in this second go.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbolt14 View Post
    The haters disappearing and only really waiting to reappear later on. His entire role is based on high risk cricket ó if he comes off in even 6/10 games thatís a success. I still think he had more issues mentality wise than technique wise because of his unfortunate tragedy. May he achieve lots of success in this second go.
    If that is the case then I guess they donít have to wait for long, because he doesnít come off 6/10 times; he comes off 2 out of 100 times.

    As far as the personal tragedy is concerned, it might have impacted him over the last couple of years but it has nothing to do with his embarrassing record in domestic cricket.

    People are flogging a dead horse here and setting themselves up for disappointment. He is a terribly mediocre batsman and not good enough for international cricket in any role.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    If that is the case then I guess they don’t have to wait for long, because he doesn’t come off 6/10 times; he comes off 2 out of 100 times.

    As far as the personal tragedy is concerned, it might have impacted him over the last couple of years but it has nothing to do with his embarrassing record in domestic cricket.

    People are flogging a dead horse here and setting themselves up for disappointment. He is a terribly mediocre batsman and not good enough for international cricket in any role.
    He’s indeed mediocre but you have to consider that he looked worse than he was since his head wasn’t in the right place. He’s been blessed with the birth of a new child and it seems his frame of mind is much more positive now. Since then, he has done exceedingly well in FC cricket, Pakistan Cup, and now has showed some form in the PSL too. You say he only appeared in 2/100 games, and that may have been true during the psychological rut he was in, but I have absolutely no reason to believe that remains the case if we only isolate his stats over the last few months.

    Bashing domestic bowlers is no hard task, but the aggressive intent in his cricket sends an indicator that he’s in a positive frame of mind these days — I’m sure you know how sheer confidence can do wonders for even a limited player’s performances.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacy with wisdom View Post
    He is such a crisp striker. If only he knew how to play low risk cricket as well.
    The only guys in Pakistan who even rival him in hitting/striking ability are Kamran and Sharjeel. Most of the guys can't do it, it's just wild slogs or steady players. People say he's mediocre, but over the course of PSLs, after with Kamran and Sharjeel he's been the batsmen that's stood out.

    Unfortunately age is against him. With that kind of ability if he was young I'd be playing him week in week out in T20s as he can improve. We don't have that time now, and I don't know if he can transform himself into a complete enough batsman for internationals. He's clearly improving at a fast rate in domestic, but this stuff should have been done 5 or 10 years ago. It tough to keep giving him chances.

    It's sad as the best three batsmen for me over the course of PSL, Kamran, Sharjeel, Asif Ali all probably won't succeed for various reasons in internationals despite the fact they have stood out from the rest of our batsmen (who have been pretty poor). Kamran too old, bit unfit, poor international career (and didn't improve as a batsman until after his international career was pretty much done). Sharjeel, unfit, poor footwork, fixing. We could have mounted a pretty frightening LOI batting set up if these three had delivered with their talent. Probably could add umar akmal to that list too.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ads101 View Post
    The only guys in Pakistan who even rival him in hitting/striking ability are Kamran and Sharjeel. Most of the guys can't do it, it's just wild slogs or steady players. People say he's mediocre, but over the course of PSLs, after with Kamran and Sharjeel he's been the batsmen that's stood out.

    Unfortunately age is against him. With that kind of ability if he was young I'd be playing him week in week out in T20s as he can improve. We don't have that time now, and I don't know if he can transform himself into a complete enough batsman for internationals. He's clearly improving at a fast rate in domestic, but this stuff should have been done 5 or 10 years ago. It tough to keep giving him chances.

    It's sad as the best three batsmen for me over the course of PSL, Kamran, Sharjeel, Asif Ali all probably won't succeed for various reasons in internationals despite the fact they have stood out from the rest of our batsmen (who have been pretty poor). Kamran too old, bit unfit, poor international career (and didn't improve as a batsman until after his international career was pretty much done). Sharjeel, unfit, poor footwork, fixing. We could have mounted a pretty frightening LOI batting set up if these three had delivered with their talent. Probably could add umar akmal to that list too.

    I don't think there is any problem with his age, he is listed as 30 yrs old which should mean he is in his prime. He hit the ball beautifully for a few shots yesterday, but the bowling was substandard. I need to see him doing that against the top class attacks before I am convinced.

    My own opinion remains that he has the shots, but he lacks sense or conviction.


    I for one welcome our new In____ overlords - Kent Brockman

  52. #52
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    If Asif Ali was able to contribute with the ball and in the field consistently, the team management would have been prepared to consistently gamble with his hit miss batting in ODIs and T20s just like Afridi

  53. #53
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    6 still overs to go and 7 wickets down, the situation doesn't stop Asif Ali from sky-ing it straight to long-on.


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)


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