Bowling tips from Mohammad Asif
I had the fortune to meet and play with the legend Mohammad Asif 2 weeks ago (Aug 2021) in Chicago where he visited to take part in a charity cricket match. At first, when I met him on the ground, I could not believe I am meeting the player who I and many other idolize for his dominance of the cricket ball. My first interaction with him was uneventful. I requested him for few pictures and spoke to him about how much I admire him and as a bowler myself, how many times I have searched YouTube for his videos. I have on repeat mode watched him with mastery outwit other legends like Sachin, Sehwag, Laxman, Clark, Peterson to name a few. That day, I saw him bat but I could not stay back for his bowling as there were charity events in the middle and the evening was going to be much longer before I saw him bowl. However, I rushed home to watch him bowl on Facebook Live. It was master at his craft. With just a few steps, he was making the ball talk and bounce as I had never seen in Chicago. I regretted every bit of leaving the ground early and wondered if I will ever get to see him bowl again.
The next day, one of my friends who is super passionate about cricket and owns one of the finest Cricket cages in Chicago, calls me up. He tells me, Mohammad Asif is going to be in his cricket nets for 2 hours. There are only going to be around 5 of us. I could not believe this was happening and my respect and love for my friend skyrocketed that day. Mohammad Asif was expected to be in the nets from 5 to 7 pm. I raced past rush hour traffic and reached the nets at 4.55 pm with the expectation Asif would be there by 6. He was already there, warming up, holding a ball alongside Adam Sanford (formed WI bowler). The next 2 hours were the most memorable 2 hours of my cricketing career. He coached us, talked to us about his experience. He also talked about last night's Charity match pitch being like Perth with the over-the-top bounce. He was very disciplined, he used cones to put a running path for us bowlers and talked to us how to approach the wicket in a smooth way and save the energy for the delivery and not running all around and being tired by the time you approach the wicket. He talked to us about how Shoaib Akhtar used to send him to pick the cricket balls that matches were played with. He talked about how the lighter ball swings more in the air than the heavy. He talked about the World T20 loss against India while he was on the non-striker end. He talked about the wrist position he uses to deliver the swing, how he bowls a slower ball. There were so many things talked about and inputs he shared with us about fitness, commitment, thinking ahead of the batsman.
I got a chance to bat against him. the first ball pitched at good length and swung outside. I completely missed the ball. I felt very embarrassed, but then I wasn't the only one and what did I expect. The next ball came inside, this time, I had my body behind and played it with a straight bat. He was appreciative that I was able to read the ball, "Yeah aacha khela aapne, ball aapne judge kar li"
Post the session, he spent few mins with us all in the group and gave us a pep talk, motivating us all to work on our fitness.
This was a memory of a lifetime for me and I don't have enough words to say what a humble and down-to-earth person he is. He is still the King of Swing. As one of his fans, I was very happy to learn he is doing well and is content with how things are.
I am looking forward to meeting with him again during Sept 4th weekend, where I will get an opportunity to spend 2-3 days with him, covering him while he is playing Gold Cup in Chicago.
I will post more videos from the upcoming week on my channel https://www.youtube.com/channe....l/UC4jI74mbPi0yAtwGr If you have questions that you will like me to ask him, do post them here, and will gather some of the ones to ask him.