Tainted former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif says he wasn’t the first nor would be the last to have indulged in spot-fixing and should have been treated better by his country’s Cricket Board, which gave “everyone a second chance” except for him.
Asif was banned for seven years for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal during Pakistan’s tour of England, where he bowled deliberate no balls for money. He also served jail time in the UK after being found guilty along with Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt.
Asif said he should have got a second chance like many others, whom he did not name.
“Everyone makes mistakes and I did too. Players had been indulging in fixing before me and even after me. But those before me are working with PCB and there are few after me still playing,” Asif told ‘ESPNCricinfo’.
“Everyone was given a second chance and there are few who never got the same treatment (as me). PCB never tried to save me regardless of the fact that I am the kind of bowler who was highly regarded by everyone in the world.
“But anyway I’m not sitting around brooding about the past or hung up on it.”
Asif said he takes pride in the performances he dished out in his limited career.
“However much I played in my career, I made it count, duniya hila ke rakh di thi (I shook up the world). That is more important for me to think about. Even today, so many years later, the best batsmen in the world still remember me and they talk about me.
“Just think how big the impact was that I had on the world. So this is what makes me proud – that there is a reason KP, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla talk highly about me. That is what makes me happy.”
The 37-year-old, who also failed a dope test in 2006 and served a one year suspension for it, admitted that he “should have behaved better off the field”.
“That is where I had issues. I want to give the kids this message that when you cross the boundary line into the field, your ambition should be to do well for yourself and for your team.”
“I was selfish as a bowler because I wanted to take wickets, and that was to help the team win. Being selfish isn’t bad if you’re playing your part for the team,” he said.
Asif remembered the days when he made the ball talk and created a lasting impression on players like Wasim Akram and Mudassar Naazar.
“I proved myself not just once but repeatedly. I got the same batsmen out more than once, and it’s not like I bowled one fluke great delivery and never did it again.
“With ball in hand I was in control. Moving the ball in and out wasn’t just a one-off thing. And I didn’t learn to do it in days. It took me years and I worked really hard for it.”
Asif did not like the fact that Amir retired from Test cricket at the age of 27, saying he let PCB down with his decision since the Board helped him a lot in his difficult time.
“I curse the PCB for how they rescued his career. But it was his obligation to help Pakistan cricket in a tough situation and he should have stayed, especially when they had helped him return.”
“…If they (the PCB) had done the same with me, then I’d still be available to rescue Pakistan in Test cricket for the next two years. I know there are fitness standards, but I can work that out and whatever is required I can do it.”