Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif said he has regrets about how his cricketing career panned out but feels proud of the impact he made during the brief time on the cricket field.
In 2010, Asif was banned for 7 years by the International Cricket Council for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal. Five years later ICC suspended the previous order allowing Asif to play all formats of cricket.
Before his ban for spot-fixing, Asif was twice caught for doping. Despite a tainted career, the Pakistan pacer won hearts with his bowling that left many batsmen bamboozled.
“Everyone has regrets in their life and a few want to talk about them, but I think I am fine. Everyone makes mistakes and I did too,” Asif told ESPNCricinfo.
“Players had been indulging in fixing before me [in 2010] and even after me. But those before me are working with PCB and there are few after me still playing. Everyone was given a second chance and there are few who never got the same treatment [as me]. PCB never tried to save me regardless of the fact that I am the kind of bowler who was highly regarded by everyone in the world,” he added.
Asif took 105 wickets in 22 Test matches for Pakistan that included seven five-wicket hauls.
“However much I played in my career, I made it count, duniya hila ke rakh de thi (I shook up the world),” Asif said.
“That is more important for me to think about. Even today, so many years later, the best batsmen in the world still remember me and they talk about me. Just think how big the impact was that I had on the world. So this is what makes me proud - that there is a reason KP, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla talk highly about me. That is what makes me happy,” he added.
“I proved myself not just once but repeatedly. I got the same batsmen out more than once, and it’s not like I bowled one fluke great delivery and never did it again. I kept doing it,” he continued.
Asif blamed the Pakistan selectors for placing too much emphasis on express pace while finding fast bowlers that have left the team devoid of bowlers like him who could take wickets without being the fastest one around.
“My job is not to scare batsmen but to make fools of them and then get them out,” Asif said.
“Bowlers like myself are essential in the team, but bowlers like myself often need more patience and time to prove our worth. But unless you’re going over 140-plus, people are somehow never convinced,” he added.
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The former pacer was not happy to see Mohammad Amir retire from Test cricket at the age of 27 and felt he owed PCB more for rescuing his career.
“It’s about how compassionate you are. If the PCB invested so much in you then it’s your duty to rescue them in Test cricket,” he said.
“If they had done the same with me, then I’d still be available to rescue Pakistan in Test cricket for the next two years,” he added.
Asif is currently in the US where he plays local cricket and his plans to starts his own academy have been blocked by the Covid-19 pandemic.