Magician Asif best I’ve ever faced: Amla

South Africa top-order batsman heaps praise on Pakistan pacer

Magician Asif best I’ve ever faced: Amla PHOTO: AFP/Reuters

Veteran South Africa opening batsman Hashim Amla has labelled Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif as the best bowler he has ever faced in international cricket.

In an interview with a local TV channel, Amla, who has scored more than 19,000 runs in international cricket for South Africa, said that he never understood Asif’s ability to swing the ball both ways.

“Mohammad Asif is the best one [I’ve ever faced],” said Amla. “I know he got banned for match-fixing but at that stage, he was the best fast-bowler I’ve ever faced. He was not the quick one, he bowled around 135kph maybe, but his accuracy was phenomenal.”

He added: “We played him in South Africa and even in Pakistan in 2007 and he was landing the ball on off stump and I don’t know whether it was nipping away or coming back. Funniest part is as years have gone by, I met other cricketers around the world and when loosely chatting with so many of the guys, they said the same thing that ‘Mohammad Asif was a magician’ with the ball.”

Asif has represented Pakistan in 23 Tests, 38 ODIs and 11 T20Is before he was banned from international cricket for his role in the infamous spot-fixing scandal in 2010.