Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar has revealed as to why his teammate Mohammad Asif was able to rattle former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman in the 2006 Karachi Test between India and Pakistan.
Akhtar recalled the match in an interaction with cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar during an ESPNCricinfo videocast.
Heaping praise on Asif, Akhtar said, “If you want to see the art of bowling, just observe Mohammad Asif - that is what you call bowling.” The speedster said that Laxman was frustrated during his batting in the Karachi Test as he could not figure out deliveries being bowled to him.
Asif had dislodged Laxman’s stumps in both the innings and also picked seven wickets in the match.
When Manjrekar asked Akhtar if he acquired accuracy from practice or he always had it, the speedster replied, “This is a talent that you are usually born with, either you have bowling sense or not.” Explaining further he gave the examples of his colleague Mohammad Sami and Asif.
Akhtar added Sami and Asif could have developed loads of variations, had they gone on to play for a longer period.
Asif had also given a tough time to South African star cricketer AB de Villiers during a match. Mentioning this match, the Rawalpindi Express said, “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.”
The Karachi Test is, however, remembered for Irfan Pathan’s hat-trick. Pathan in the first over sent Pakistan top-order batsmen - Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf – to pavilion. Despite an early setback, the host bounced back in their innings and put up a decent score. After the second innings, Pakistan gave India a huge target of 607 to win. But, the visitors got all out for 265.
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