Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who was banned for life in a spot fixing case in England, has revealed that other players, too, were involved in spot fixing even before his career and after his ban, and felt that he should have received a second chance.
Asif is currently juggling time coaching aspiring cricketers in the United States and spends time between the States and Pakistan.
The former fast bowler, who along with Salman Butt, the then Pakistan Test captain, and Mohammad Amir, then a 17-year-old teenage sensation who had already been compared to Wasim Akram, were involved in spot fixing during the final day of a Test match against England at Lords.
According to News of the World, the tabloid that broke the story that time, Pakistani bookie Mazhar Majeed accepted 150,000 pounds (Rs 1.4 crore) to arrange a fix involving Asif and Amir. Majeed approached Butt, who explained the process to his new ball bowlers, resulting in all three of them getting banned from international cricket.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Asif admitted that he regretted the way his career had ended. Naturally, with a Test average of just over 24 with 8 five-wicket hauls and 1 ten-wicket haul, Asif had all what it took to be an all-time great had he not indulged in the spot fixing incident.
“But those before me are working with PCB and there are few after me still playing. 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,” he said.
Admitting that he ‘shook up the world’, Asif said that he even had legends of the game such as Wasim Akram gaping at the control he had over the ball.
While talking about his regrets, Asif added that his message for aspiring cricketers was to walk with their head held high. “Your ambition should be to do well for yourself and your team,” he said,
Asif has also been critical about the way the Pakistan Cricket Board managed the Mohammad Amir situation. Amir retired from Test cricket, aged 27. “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. Anyway, it's the PCB's decision to let him go, but if he is meant to leave Test cricket at this age, it really is a curse upon those who fought so hard to bring him back. And did anyone ever take Amir's name, saying he was the toughest bowler to handle? Definitely no,” he said.