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Monday May 16, 2022

My aim is to make Islamabad United win PSL trophy: Asif Ali

Asif Ali says he is eagerly waiting for the action and praying that all goes well amidst the fifth wave of COVID19 in the country

January 24, 2022
Islamabad United’s batter Asif Ali. Photo: file
Islamabad United’s batter Asif Ali. Photo: file 

KARACHI: Islamabad United’s aggressive batter Asif Ali has said that he was focused on making his side win the seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Talking exclusively to Geo News, the 30-year-old Islamabad United star said that he was eagerly waiting for the action and praying that all goes well amidst the fifth wave of COVID19 in the country.

“We are very balanced side. I must say that United’s management is always spot-on with their emerging picks, they know the player who’re doing well at the domestic level, they pick them – provide them a bigger stage and allow them to knock selectors’ doors for Pakistan team” he said.

Sharing his thoughts on life in a bio-secure bubble, Asif said that it is more difficult than one can imagine especially for the players who’re struggling with form as they won’t have anywhere else to go other than sitting isolated in the rooms.

He urged the fans to follow COVID-19 protocols when they come to the stadium for PSL matches.

T20 World Cup 2021

Recalling the memories of the T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai, the Pakistan cricket team’s middle-order batter Asif Ali revealed that he was mentally prepared that the tournament could be the last tournament of his international career and he gave his all in that event.

He said that he worked harder for the T20 World Cup than he did at the time of his international debut.

Asif was under criticism before the T20 World Cup because of uncertainty in his performance but his match-winning performances against New Zealand and Afghanistan turned the tables in his favour and many of the critics became his cheerleaders.

“It is important to understand my position. The position on which I play brings frequent ups and downs. People need to understand that as middle order and power hitter I have a certain role, and in T20Is, sometimes I hardly get two or three balls, people don’t see when did I come to bat or how many deliveries did I get and then they say Asif didn’t score runs in the series,” he rued.

“I don’t take criticism negatively, while some hate there are some who loves you too, but it hurts when people who doesn’t know even an iota of cricket comment on me. It’s okay when cricketers give their opinion because a player’s comment and analysis will be for improvement and I take it positively to learn from them,” Asif said.

The right-handed flamboyant batter said that the T20 World Cup was very important for him and he had made up his mind that the event could be his last tournament.

“I convinced myself that whatever I’ve to do, I’ve to do in this tournament and whatever I’ll do will decide my future. So I worked really hard. Thankfully it worked for me,” he said.

Asif played unbeaten knocks of 27 and 25 against New Zealand and Afghanistan respectively to help Pakistan win these matches in World Cup and these two innings changed things for him.

Recalling the match against Afghanistan, Asif said that he was very happy to see the way fans cheered for him following that win, it was something like his hard work paid back. He, however, added that everyone wanted to win the world cup, but unfortunately, the team couldn’t do well in the semi-final.

Match against New Zealand

Talking about the match against New Zealand, Asif said that he and Shoaib Malik had decided to take it till the last over.

“We were waiting for bad deliveries and we were punishing them, Shoaib Malik was very supportive there. Both of us decided that we’ll take it till the last over, we played according to what was planned and got the success,” he said.

Referring to the moment when he was hit on the head by a bouncer from Tim Southee, Asif Ali said that he had decided that whatever happens, he will not leave the field.

“When I was hit, Shoaib Malik came and said don’t go off the field, I said to him I am not going anywhere. I didn’t feel the impact immediately but when I ran after that, I felt vibration in the head followed by little dizziness,” he recalled.

“Shoaib Malik was still saying that I shouldn’t go off the field as the match was just a couple of shots away, I said to him – whatever happens, I am staying in the field, even if I fall down, I will make sure that we finish the match,” Asif said while recalling that particular moment.

Power-hitting coach

He praised PCB’s decision to hire a power-hitting coach for the Pakistan team but insisted that players should be prepared for this job at the domestic level so that they’re ready before coming to the Pakistan team.

“A lot is being done for power-hitting, but we have hardly a few in middle overs’ power hitters. It is important for us to prepare some players at the domestic level so that whenever they’re brought into the national side, they’re well prepared for the job,” he said.

Replying to a question, Asif Ali said that whenever a player is down, it is important for him to get the backing of the captain and team management and he has always received such backing from the dressing room of Islamabad United.

“I give credit to them, I’ve played several leagues but the atmosphere that United offers is not found anywhere else,” he mentioned.