Who is Bilal Asif?

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  1. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    Bilal Asif removed Tom Westley Chris Whiteoak

    Where is he from?

    Bilal Asif hails from a small village called Allo Mahar Sharif, which is located on the outskirts of Daska. Sialkot isn't too far away from the village - a 45-minute drive would get you there. The belt between Sialkot and Daska has a not insubstantial record for producing domestic cricketers, including Asif's uncle Zahid Saeed, a left-arm seamer.

    Saeed was among 22 probables for a training camp for the home series against India in 2004, but he didn't make the final cut. In all, he played 75 first-class matches, taking 299 wickets at an average of 24.54.

    Who's played a part in his career? Anyone I'll have heard of?

    He graduated with a degree in Arts, but cricket was always the top priority for Asif. Former Pakistan left-arm spinner Amir Waseem, who has mentored many Sialkot players, and former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik have had the most influence on his career.

    Asif played under the captaincy of Waseem at Tony cricket club until 2008, when he left Pakistan for Kuwait to lend a helping hand to his father, who was an electrician. Asif later returned to Pakistan in 2010 to launch his cricketing career.

    How has been his cricketing journey so far?

    Asif made his first-class debut for Sialkot in 2011 at the age of 26, but he only played only five matches in his first two seasons. He then made 310 runs in six matches, including his maiden century, in 2014-15. He played a pair of ODIs in Harare and one in Abu Dhabi, and smashed a 48-ball hundred during the Super 9 T20 Cup in May 2015.

    So you're saying he's a batsman...?

    Not quite. He is actually a specialist offspinner who grew up idolising Saqlain Mushtaq, but it was his crisp, brisk ball-striking that caught the attention of the selectors. When Pakistan had lost Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez to suspect actions, Asif was fast-tracked into the national set-up. A spinner who made his name as a batsman. When have we ever had that in Pakistan cricket?

    Cool. What else??

    After picking up 17 first-class wickets in 2014-15 at an average of 27.35, he took nine wickets in the Pakistan T20 Cup in Rawalpindi and was subsequently selected for Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka in 2015. But he only made his debut during the ODI series in Zimbabwe in October that year.

    He opened the batting alongside captain Azhar Ali in the second ODI in Harare and returned without having contributed to the score, in addition to going wicketless in eight overs. In his next game, he produced an all-round performance to help his side seal the series 2-1. After claiming 5 for 25, he added a boundary-laden 38 while opening the batting to hasten Pakistan's pursuit of 162. However, he was reported for a suspect action after the game.

    A man with a suspect action was called up to fill the gap left by Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez?

    Well, he underwent testing at the ICC-accredited Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, and immediately had his action cleared. In a statement, the ICC said that Asif's bowling action "was well within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations".

    Did he remain on Pakistan's radar?

    He was called up to the Test squad in 2015 for the series against England in the UAE. His call-up was intended to provide cover for Pakistan's depleted spin stocks; Hafeez had been banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months because of an illegal action, while Ajmal had not been selected.

    Asif had been on stand-by to make his Test debut in Dubai, in case Yasir Shah, failed to recover from a back spasm. Yasir, however, recovered, and Asif stayed on with the squad as cover. He did play an ODI against England in November 2015, when he gave away 32 runs in four overs and subsequently lost his place in the side.

    How did he return to the Test squad?

    Asif has made significant progress after working with former Pakistan legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed. His career found a second wind and he was picked ahead of Hafeez - who was struggling for form - for the series against Australia.

    When legspinner Shadab Khan was all but ruled out for the first Test, Asif's chances of making a Test debut improved.

    What's so great about him?

    He can turn the ball sharply and generate extra bounce. According to Mushtaq Ahmed, he can bowl the doosra too, thanks to his strong wrists.

    Any hobbies?

    Singing. His songs are apparently popular among his team-mates and on the entire domestic circuit.


    ASLI-PATHAN Cricistan Khan

    Apr 26, 2011
    5fer on Debut. Dream start to his test career
  3. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    5 wickets on debut for Bilal, has turned this game on his own
  4. Patriot

    Patriot Kaptaan

    Oct 8, 2014
    brilliant find. He was picked for the side before but failed. Looks like he worked on his bowling specifically and it is showing. 5fer on a Phatta called by many experts is no easy feat.
  5. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    6-36 on debut! The third best figures on debut for Pakistan.
  6. Energy

    Energy Cornered Tiger

    Apr 22, 2012
    Bowls like Murali. Chucks like him too.
  7. Patriot

    Patriot Kaptaan

    Oct 8, 2014
  8. Prince Pathan

    Prince Pathan Sultan of Swing

    Aug 31, 2011
    He has been done for chucking before so hopefully he has fixed his bowling action and does not resort to cheating again
  9. KingOfDoosra

    KingOfDoosra Sultan of Swing

    Jun 8, 2012
    Taking a 6 wicket haul is a great achievement but I think the Australians gave their wickets away to this guy.

    Whilst the bounce he gets is a good thing, he also struggles to find lbws which is quite concerning for an offie.

    Best of luck though, deserves to play all matches in the AUS-NZ series.

    Gesendet von meinem SM-G925F mit Tapatalk
  10. s_h_a_f

    s_h_a_f Whispering Death

    Dec 26, 2011
    That’s what I thought initially. ICC actually found he’s action to be clean
  11. Patriot

    Patriot Kaptaan

    Oct 8, 2014
    you are a cricketer yourself and you should know better, bowlers don't deliberately chuck....well unless the bowler is a certain namak haram
  12. Fireworks11

    Fireworks11 Kaptaan

    Sep 22, 2012
    Seems tall for an off spinner so gets the bounce. Action may be a problem though with ICC.
  13. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    Bilal credits legend for stunning spell

    A journeyman off-spinner with an arts degree and a doosra, Bilal Asif credited Pakistan great Mushtaq Ahmed for his astonishing rampage that flattened Australia on day three of the first Test.

    While the Australians had somehow found recent footage of a man whose brief foray into international cricket three years ago was overshadowed by a report of a suspect action, they had no answers for Bilal on Tuesday in Dubai.

    The 33-year-old snared 6-36 in a devastating spell after the lunch break on Tuesday as Australia lost 10-60 to all but end their hopes of drawing first blood in their two-Test series.

    Bilal, who only started playing first-class cricket aged 26, played three one-day internationals in 2015 as an opening batsman and admitted he wasn't sure whether he'd ever get a shot at Test level.

    "I didn’t (know) whether I would get a chance or not," he said.

    "What I could do was to work hard on my game. I was out of the team since 2015, I was at the National Cricket Academy camp where I worked with ‘Mushy bhai’ (former Test leg-spinner, now assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed).

    "I need to really thank him for the work he did with me. I have been working with him in the last three years. I got the reward today - credit goes to Mushy who has always supported me on and off the field."

    Bilal gave captain Tim Paine a glimpse of his doosra, a delivery that spins the opposite way to a stock off-break which few in the world can accurately bowl, but he hardly needed it in his startling spell.

    Shaun Marsh became his maiden Test scalp when he airily drove outside off and edged to slip, as Bilal removed top-scorer Usman Khawaja for 85 before fellow debutants Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne followed.

    He'd taken four wickets in 22 balls but the chaos wasn't over as he then dismissed Paine before wrapping the innings when Nathan Lyon swept one straight to square leg.

    Aaron Finch, who scored 62 before becoming the first wicket to fall, said the Aussies had prepared carefully for Bilal but found his height and bounce a particular challenge.

    "There was a lot of videos we watched, did a lot of research. Watching it on a computer screen is obviously very different to being out in a Test match environment facing him," said Finch.

    "The difference with him today was just the bounce. He's obviously very tall, gets over the top, puts a lot of revs on the ball which was a challenge to start with. He was very accurate as well.

    "He didn't give us anything off the back foot which is probably the easiest way to score on a wicket like that."

    Australia will have to contend with him again in the final innings of the match when the pitch will be offering even more turn and Bilal is confident he's got the recipe for success in this part of the world.

    "I have been bowling a lot and I have bowled like this in first-class matches as well," he continued. "I have an idea how to get wickets on a particular wicket.

    "I had a good look at the pitch also I knew the conditions in the UAE. It helps the spinners. I tried to bring some variations in terms of my pace and the result was good today."

  14. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    Samiuddin: Don't tell Bilal Asif he's not a Test cricketer

    In no particular order, here is pretty much all of the Bilal Asif conversation that could be had pre-Test.

    Are Pakistan really going to play Bilal Asif?

    Are there no other offspinners in Pakistan?

    Is Shadab Khan really not fit enough?

    Why not play a left-arm spinner instead?

    Where is Mohammad Asghar?

    Why is he not Kashif Bhatti?

    Are you sure there isn't another offspinner in Pakistan?

    Have two spinners from the same side ever been called for their action in the same Test?

    You get the tone right, that these weren't conversation-starters as much as conversation-ending questions, that vicious variety of question that is a pure putdown. The worst thing you can do to these types of questions is to give them answers.

    So, in order now, top to bottom:

    Are Pakistan really going to play Bilal Asif? Yes, they are. They just did. And on the first occasion that Yasir Shah went wicketless in an innings in the UAE, aren't they glad they did.

    Are there no other offspinners in Pakistan? Here are some fun facts. Last season in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Iftikhar Ahmed was the top offspinning wicket-taker and he was 41st on that list. Asif was 59th. The season before that was better, or more accurately, not as bad. The top offspinner was 25th on the wickets chart and the year before that 44th. You have to go as far back as the 2012-13 season to find an offspinner in the top 10 wicket-takers list, and Atif Maqbool was the highest wicket-taker that season but that is a modern anomaly.

    So no, there aren't that many offspinners in Pakistan cricket. Or that many with legal actions (more on this later). When Saeed Ajmal was reported for his action in 2014, the PCB estimated there to be 35-40 bowlers with suspect actions, a number of them offies. Also most domestic pitches are in such a poor way that all sides are like 1980s England and loaded with horses-for-courses medium-pacers. The offspinner anyway is genetically disposed to being the last guy any team ever picks from a line-up.

    Is Shadab Khan really not fit enough? He isn't. And you know what? It won't be easy bringing him back in even if he is fit for Abu Dhabi. That's just the way Pakistan cricket rolls, the last hour's superhero replaced by the next hour's, for another hour at least.

    Why not pick a left-arm spinner? Good question - and let's group it together with the two that follow it - because there are plenty of SLAs on the circuit. And one of Pakistan's calling cards in the UAE has been the unassuming SLA who sides don't pay attention to until he comes in and wrecks their happiness. Until a couple of years ago Asghar was going to be the next guy, and possibly the main guy, exciting everyone, most of all that great dismisser of spin, Misbah-ul-Haq. He's now not. Mohammad Nawaz isn't either. And probably not Zafar Gohar either, who still can't shed the allegation that he overslept and missed a chance for a Test debut three years ago.

    Bhatti has crazy numbers and has been prominent for a number of seasons, but his greatest sins seem to be that he is unfashionable (he's SLA so he can't really help it). Speaking of which, Zulfiqar Babar was in the crowd, looking even more like the midlife crisis uncle than when he was playing. In any case, this is a question best answered by Inzamam-ul-Haq, chief selector, whenever he has time from defending himself of charges of nepotism.

    So you're sure there isn't another offspinner in Pakistan? Yes, pretty.

    Bilal Asif registered the third-best figures by a Pakistan bowler on Test debut ESPNcricinfo Ltd

    Have two spinners from the same side ever been called for their action in the same Test? Oh yes, of course, this. Smirk. The thing people forget about Asif being reported soon after his ODI debut in 2015 was that subsequent ICC testing actually cleared him. Let's spell that out: an ICC-accredited lab tested his action in front of a gazillion high-speed cameras and found that his elbow did not extend beyond 15 degrees on release.

    Today, as the wider world sat up and took notice of him it might again look at the action and furrow its brow and start muttering like somebody's skirt is too short, or hair too long. And fine, he might still get reported but that would be because umpires call bowlers on what they see with their eyes, not on what technology measures, and what they see with the eye is an unusual action for an offspinner.

    Two things. One, he was happily bowling in a short-sleeved shirt so that if there is a kink in the action, at least he is not worried enough to hide it. Naïve maybe, maybe confident, but far greater offpsinners have played entire careers never once wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

    The other is that the work he puts on the ball would appear to be generated mostly from the wrist. In fact, the more that was seen of him today the more he appeared to be some strange composite of the great Arshad Khan and the greatest Muttiah Muralitharan. That is, he moves with Arshad Khan's gait and bearing and height, and perhaps a glimpse of his approach (if viewed with one eye shut) but he had Murali's wrist fixed on to the end of his arm.

    And the bowling was an equally unsettling combination of both. There were loopy, dipping deliveries that spun as if a conventional fingerspinner from the 1950s had returned to deliver them. But he could also be the consummate modern offie, built for limited-overs cricket. Occasionally he bowled something that remains unclassified for now. It could've been the doosra - which is something he does bowl - or it could just have been a topspinner, or a ball that just doesn't spin or a ball that was supposed to spin but didn't.

    Australia had prepped for him. They'd watched the videos and done their research (were they aware of his singing capabilities though?) but the only thing was they weren't playing him off a laptop. They reckoned it was the bounce that did for them, although truthfully, it looked like Asif did for them with bounce, dip, break, angle, pace, line, length and probably yeah, other than that they played him just fine.

    Somebody watched him get dismissed in the first innings swiping across the line and concluded that he's not a Test cricketer. Not wondered, as a question, but concluded. It's true that his more notable work till now has been in T20s and ODIs. But what a precious way to be, to think that Test cricket is some privilege only certain types of cricketers are entitled to.

    Bilal Asif may never play another Test again. He may never take another Test wicket again but he'll be damned if you tell him he's no Test cricketer. Six Test wickets - and possibly more to come - on debut is from now on the answer to every question ever asked of Bilal Asif.

  15. KingOfDoosra

    KingOfDoosra Sultan of Swing

    Jun 8, 2012
    Like I said, he's nothing special and that has been proven in the second inning, but best of luck.
  16. chandtara

    chandtara Mr Cricistan

    Jun 18, 2011
    2nd 5fer in 5 tests.
  17. Mo Iqbal

    Mo Iqbal Youngsta Beauty

    Dec 27, 2013
    Has done well in this test.

    There was a lot of pressure on him but he has manage to pull through.

    Still think Zaf Gohar is a better bowler as well as a batter than him.
  18. Del

    Del Cornered Tiger

    Dec 21, 2016
    Zafar is certainly better bowler than Asif. Latter is preferred by Head coach due to his batting abilities, which I've yet to see.

    Nevertheless, full credit and congrats to him for his second 5Fer, hope he can do it in 4th innings too.

    Noticed that both of his 5Fer came in 1st innings and he struggled in 2nd innings.

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