October 01, 1991, Faisalabad, Punjab
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Middle order batter
Where was Asif Ali in the years Pakistan had been crying out for a power hitter? It took the exposure of the PSL for Asif Ali to come to prominence in an Islamabad United side that owed much to him for their title-winning campaign in 2018. A six in a Super Over against Mustafizur Rahman got their campaign up and running, and it wasn't until he smashed three sixes in arrow in a nerve-wracking chase that his side were assured victory.
Those heroics saw him called up to the national side for three T20Is against West Indies, where he made the step-up with consummate ease. Clear about his role in the team, he's already played several vital cameos in the shortest format to get his side over the line, with a strike rate around 160 proof of his comfort at the highest level.
As a finisher in ODI cricket, he similarly impresses, although he may have to move lower down the order if Pakistan's middle order fragility continues; his power hitting exploits are not best suited for the No. 6 position. But what's most important is he fills a very specific need within the team, and if the first few months are anything to go by, he fills it very well indeed.
Given he is 26 and has a strike rate above 140 in 88 T20s, it does seem a bit of a scouting failure Asif wasn't given a promotion to the national side a few years earlier, when much of Pakistan's struggles in T20 and ODI cricket were to do with lack of firepower in the death overs. It bodes well for Pakistan he's hit the ground running, eager to make up for lost time.
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