Mohammad Asif happy to see Abbas succeed

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif is impressed with pace sensation Mohammad Abbas' mastery of the Kookaburra ball.

Mohammad Asif was pleased to hear when Abbas named him as a role model.   -  AFP

The last time a bowler from Pakistan scalped a ten-for in Test cricket was 12 years ago, when Mohammad Asif toyed with Sri Lanka batsmen in Kandy.

And on Friday, history was repeated as another speedster and Asif’s old team-mate, Mohammad Abbas, grabbed a ten-for against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

As the cricketing world is busy discussing the future of Abbas in the longer format of the game, Asif is happy to see his ‘team-mate’ emulating his feat.

“It is good to see him come this far. We have played together in domestic cricket (for Sialkot) and every time we would take the field, Abbas would ask me questions on how to improve. He was always willing to learn,” Asif told Sportstar from Islamabad on Friday.

Read: I see a new No. 1 Test bowler – Steyn on Abbas

Abbas has been the one of the prominent performers in Pakistan’s domestic tournament—Quaid-e-Azam Trophy—where he picked up 71 wickets in 10 matches with eight five-wicket hauls for the Khan Research Laboratories. In the previous season, he got 61 wickets.

Even then, Abbas had to wait for long to break into the big league. In the domestic leagues, Abbas would toy with the batsmen with the Dukes ball, but Asif was quite impressed with the way he troubled the Australian batsmen with the Kookaburra ball.

“In Pakistan, we have been using Dukes ball for the last couple of years and after getting used to it, it becomes a bit difficult to make an impact with the Dukes ball. In Dukes, you get more swing, so adjusting to the Kookaburra is a bit challenging. But Abbas took time and kept it stump to stump and that worked well for him,” Asif said.

“Even though this Australian line-up is not all that good, but even then, it is never easy to take 10 wickets, that too on a wicket, where batsmen got the advantage. So, it shows how much of a hard-working person Abbas is. It is good to see him achieve success,” Asif said.

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Under Asif’s captaincy, Abbas was the key bowler for the domestic team and every time he would take the run-up, Abbas made it a point to take a tip or two from Asif.

“I would do the first over and he would do the second. So, we had a good coordination and in between we would share thoughts and he was very interested in knowing every small thing and that made him perfect,” Asif, who featured in 23 Tests and 38 ODIs for Pakistan, said.

After success in England earlier this year, Abbas had gone on record saying that Asif is his idol. “I thought he would take name of legends like Wasim (Akram) bhai, who had also shared tips with him. But he told everyone that he has received help from me. It was quite a happy feeling to see him taking my name. He is a hardworking bowler and should go far,” the seasoned paceman said.

Considered one of the most prolific pacers of Pakistan, Asif was suspended from international cricket after being involved in spot-fixing fiasco in 2010, along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir. Even though the suspension was lifted in 2015, he is yet to feature in the national side, despite being a consistent performer at the domestic level.

While he is happy for the 28-year-old Abbas, Asif hopes he also gets to bowl alongside him for Pakistan someday. “It looks tough. Ever since our return, Salman (Butt) and I have not been considered for international selection despite playing domestic cricket. But I would like to believe that things will change,” Asif hoped.

Abbas’ success has not only impressed Asif, it has also given the 35-year-old pace ace a chance to dream again.