December 20, 1982, Sheikhupura, Punjab
Left hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Few Pakistani fast bowlers have been as wily and smart as Mohammad Asif, though fewer have been as prone to scandal and controversy off the field. Neither claim can easily be made given the rich competition.
But such is the magic in the loose wrists of Asif. Pace is not his calling - he abhors such measurements - but he is unerringly accurate and cuts the ball either way with wicked regularity and glee. He is tall and lean so to these skills is added bounce and a natural ability to bowl long spells. An easy action and easier run-up mean that watching a long Asif spell, watching him out-think batsmen, is an experience in cricket not to be missed.
On several occasions, in Kandy, in Karachi, at The Oval, in South Africa, and in Sydney, all of it has come together in spells not only of the very highest quality, but of crucial importance to Pakistan's cause. But if ever a young, small-town man was blinded by the bright lights of a big city and fame, it was Asif.
Already, unforgivably, he has tested positive for steroids twice. Soon after the second offence, he was caught with a recreational drug in his wallet at Dubai airport and kept in detention for three weeks. Most seriously he was charged in 2010 with spot-fixing - bowling pre-planned, deliberate no-balls - and in February 2011 he was handed a seven-year ban, with two years suspended, by the ICC. With relation to these charges, he was tried at the Southwark Crown Court in London in October, and found guilty of cheating and accepting corrupt payments on November 1. He was sentenced to one year in prison.
After an unsuccessful appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in April to reduce his suspension period, Asif confessed to his involvement in spot-fixing in August 2013
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