Fast bowler Mohammad Asif has showered words of praise on Mohammad Abbas, the bowler who tormented England with eight wickets to hand Pakistan a clinical victory at Lord’s.
“Abbas did really well. We have played together, and he is a very good listener. I know that he has a lot more potential than it,” Asif told Cricingif in a brief chat from California.
“It is a big victory for Pakistan at Lord’s. I wish him good luck for the upcoming matches. My message for him is to keep it up.”
Ever since his debut at Jamaica, where he struck with the second ball of his Test career, Abbas’s style of bowling has been compared with Asif who is considered among the best seam bowlers of the modern era.
Former West Indies fast bowler and a renowned commentator Ian Bishop compared Abbas’ bowling with Asif's when the former took four wickets on the opening day of the second Test in Barbados last year.
Osman Samiuddin, the Pakistan cricket historian and writer, also drew similarities between Abbas and Asif last week after the bowler dismissed England opener Mark Stoneman in a way that was reminiscent of Asif’s bowling to the left-handers.
Following Pakistan’s win at Lord’s, Abbas mentioned that he idolises Asif and tries to bowl like him.
“Asif bhai is my ideal bowler and Glenn McGrath as well. I try to bowl like him and have played cricket with him in Sialkot. I talk to him as well, and that has benefited me,” said Abbas after his man-of-the-match performance at Lord’s.
“I try to bowl at the lines and lengths which he used to bowl. I once asked him about gripping the ball, and that has benefited me a lot.”
Abbas accounted for eight wickets for 64 runs in the first Test against England, the best figures by an Asian fast bowler at the home of cricket. In doing so, he took his overall career tally to 40 wickets in seven Tests. No bowler from Pakistan had that many wickets at this stage of career. Asif and Yasir Shah jointly held the previous record; both had 37 wickets in first seven Tests.
Pakistan’s second Test against England will start from June 1 in Leeds where they aim to win or draw to register their first series win in England in 22 years.