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Inimitable Asif Ali

Asif Ali became Pakistan’s superhero when he smashed four sixes in the 19th over from pacer Karim Janat to give Pakistan a five-wicket win over Afghanistan in Dubai.

That came two days after he smashed three sixes — two in one New Zealand pacer Tim Southee’s over— in Pakistan’s five-wicket win over New Zealand in Sharjah. Everyone acknowledges that it is a not easy to hit Tim Southee over the ground as he is rated to be high-lass bowler.

 

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Asif Ali has proved with his talent that he could not be ruled out of the game though he has been criticised on his failures and lack of performances and even his selection for the Twenty20 World Cup received flak, not only on national television channels but also vociferously on social media.

Asif also struggled with his form after his 18-month-old daughter, Noor Fatima, died of cancer in 2019, on the eve of the 50-over World Cup in England.

Related: Viral interview: Asif Ali talks about his love for bikes, first-ever prize money 

But the 30-year-old has rebounded and silenced his critics with his wonderful batting performance that was second to none.

Asif has risen from humble background as he was once a labourer in an iron foundry and it actually was Misbah who while leading the Faisalabad team in Pakistan’s National Super Eight Twenty20 tournament saw a clean hitter in Asif and brought him into his team.

Asif was an instant success, hitting a century on his Twenty20 debut and then he performed well for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.

However, Asif found the international stage tough and with his every failure, Misbah was equally condemned for giving Asif more chances than others.

Misbah justified Asif’s performance by saying that number six is a tough position to bat particularly for a hitter but now Asif has come up to expectations.

Asif was rated as a real talent and his performance was praised when he became one of the stars of the 2018 PSL final, smashing a six-ball 26 with three sixes as Islamabad beat Peshawar. He is an impact player and can change the game in a jiffy.

He featured in the 2019 50-over World Cup but after he scored 19 runs in two matches, the selectors dropped him. Asif admits it has been a painful journey but he maintains that he ignores social media flak.

His T20 World Cup statistics — 19 balls faced, seven sixes and 52 runs, without being dismissed — could be any player’s dream.

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