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Exclusive Interviews

PakPassion.net continues to bring its members and guests information on the best upcoming talent in Pakistan, with another in the Talent Spotter Series.

Name: Umaid Asif

Age: 27 years

Place of Birth: Sialkot, Punjab

Height: 6 ft 5 in

Major teams: Sialkot Stallions, Water and Power Development Authority, National Bank of Pakistan

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium-fast

Stock Ball: My natural ball is the inswinger but I can also bowl the outswinger. 

Early Inspiration: Imran Khan was my favourite ever since the 1992 World Cup. After that, I saw Waqar and Wasim bowl and I perceived these two as legends. So after watching these players quite a few times, I began to think that yes, I have to do something for Pakistan as well. 

Then in the 1996 World Cup when we lost against India, I cried a bit [chuckles] and thought to myself that this shouldn't have happened. I decided in my heart then that I wanted to play for Pakistan. 

Emergence into cricket: I wasn't completely sure about cricket because I used to think that I am not even that tall, plus my family wanted me to focus on studies. Hence, I went to Lahore and did my A-levels. There, I started playing with tape ball cricket and then in the school team I began playing with the hard ball.

Secondly, because I had a good height, people started saying that why don't you start bowling? So when I started bowling, then Masha'Allah my natural action was quite good. Furthermore, I wasn't a part of any club teams yet and my uncle helped me in this regards. He told me to come to the nets and when I delivered the first ball, he said you bowl exceptionally well so you should join a club team. When I joined the club though, I told everyone at home that I am playing cricket. However, my studies were also at a crucial stage so I was told to finish my studies first and then start playing cricket again. 

Regardless, I kept on playing cricket side by side although my father never really came to see me play. Then when I stopped studying and my mother passed away, it was after this that I really started to concentrate on cricket. 

Getting selected for First-class cricket: For the first two years or so, there was no one there to tell me how much effort is required in club cricket and what one needs to do. Later, I found out that some WAPDA coaches had their eyes on me and I am really grateful to Amjad Saddiq (WAPDA coach) for noticing me. He called me up for trials as the First-class season was about to begin (around 2008). I showed up for the trials, did some bowling and there, they stopped me and said we will have you play in First-class cricket.

First-class DebutYes, you could say that perhaps my debut into First-class cricket (in the year 2009) was a bit delayed but since I was busy with studies, I couldn't play earlier. You know, age doesn't really matter as long as you are fit and you have enough talent to play cricket. When I joined some did say that it is a bit too late for you, but then again Rana Naved was playing, Misbah-ul-Haq was playing, so I said why not? Therefore, I kept on working hard and Masha'Allah, I received the rewards of my efforts as I played for WAPDA, bowled well against National Bank and as a result, they offered me a contract for this year and now I am playing for them.

Top Bowling Speed: I didn't know about my own speed but other people who have seen me, such as Shabbir Ahmed from WAPDA, he used to say that you seem to possess a pretty good amount of speed [and appear to be quick]. I asked him how fast do I seem and he said that my speed was probably around 90 mph, or it was 88+ and around 88 mph or 89 mph. It hasn't been checked with a speed gun yet so let's see. 

Bowling actionPeople say that my action is similar to Abdul Razzaq. It is a high arm action. 

Cricketing role model: Imran Khan, without a doubt.

Experience with international players: You get to learn a lot from international players, such as about confidence. For instance, when Rana Naved was the captain, from him, I learned about the importance of aggression and maintaining focus. They all provide guidance to me and obviously, because the international players have already been through the process, they know what the up and coming players need to do in order to make it through. 

So they have helped me a lot. In addition to this, when I came to National Bank, the international players here further instilled a sense of belief in me because the main thing is about one's level of confidence. They said that the difference between you and the international players is that of confidence and luck. If you work hard then luck will be with you but you have to acquire the confidence yourself. 

Shabbir Ahmed, Khurram Manzoor and Kamran Akmal [in the role of captain] are some international players who have helped me in this regards (i.e. confidence). 

Toughest opponent: In the last season, I found Habib Bank's left-handed opening batsman Shan Masood a bit difficult in getting out. He has a great temperament and I recall that last year, from the 27 overs that I bowled to him, he remained not out for 25 overs. I found that he was a good player technique wise. In this season though, I didn't find anyone too tough to face. 

I don't think to myself that a certain batsman is a tough opponent but rather, my efforts are always geared towards the thought that I am a bowler and as such, I have to dismiss whichever batsman is put in front of me. 

Memorable performances: A memorable performance for me occurred in this season against ZTBL, where I obtained a five-for in the second innings of the match. The thing was that they had obtained a lead and we had to get them out quickly in order to win. So when we bowled them out in the second innings, my figures were that of 5-39 (including wickets of international cricketers such as Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed) and we won that match. 

I felt good bowling them out. The aim was that I had to get Imran Nazir out because yes, there is a bit of 'fear' in every bowler when one bowls to him. However, Kamran Akmal said that he is a bit weak when it comes to playing inswing, so I kept on bowling that and he kept on getting beaten and while Imran Nazir did try to hit the ball, luckily those shots didn't transpire and he subsequently got out. 

In terms of a memorable batting performance, while playing in the second match of the First-class cricket season (against Habib Bank Limited), I scored 67 runs at the number nine position. Also in that match, a lot of good bowlers were playing such as Umar Gul, Sarmad Anwar, Danish Kaneria, Abdur Rehman and Fahad Masood. So against them I scored 67 runs.

Bowler or All-rounder: I want to develop in to a valuable all-rounder because that is an aim for me. Imran Khan is the ideal role model for this since he too was a bowling all-rounder and therefore, my aim is to follow the same route.

Future goals: The objective is to play for Pakistan and nothing else. From the very beginning I had this desire that no matter what, I have to do something for my country in any way possible. A lot of people nowadays will say go abroad somewhere, but I believe in staying here because one can contribute through whatever field they are in.