Learning tricks from Anderson: Asif

Banned Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif says he has been closely following English paceman James Anderson's exploits against India and will use few of his tricks on his return to big-time cricket.

Asif was slapped a five-year ban for his involvement in spot-fixing during the Test series against England last year. Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer were the other two players to be banned.

Asif reiterated his innocence and said he will return as a better bowler.

"I am confident that when my ban is overturned I will be back as an even better bowler and will be in the top 10 ranked bowlers in test cricket in no time. In fact, during this period away from the game I have watched James Anderson's bowling very closely again and again and it has been very interesting watching him bowl," quoted Asif as saying.

"When I come back to cricket even after the time away I'll be thinking about how Anderson bowled against India and will use that for my benefit. If you think you are the finished article and don't need to learn from others then you are wrong".

Asif said he enjoyed watching Anderson bowl and that if he continues in the same vein, he is on course to become a legend.

"I feel that James Anderson is bowling with the similar skills and tactics that I previously used. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching him bowl and have not missed any of the England versus India test matches as I didn't want to miss any of Anderson's bowling spells. Only someone like myself who has bowled like Anderson, with a similar style of bowling can truly appreciate what he is doing with the cricket ball and how well he is bowling these days," he said.

"Anderson has not been playing cricket against the Indians, he has been playing with their minds. He has truly out-thought and baffled the Indians with his artistry and skill. It reminded me so much of what Aamer and I did at times last year to the Australian and English batsmen. If Anderson carries on bowling the way he has been recently and continues to improve then he can become a cricket legend."

Asif, who has 106 wickets from 23 Tests, said the last one year has been "tough" for him.

"Mentally, it's been really tough. Cricket is my life and always will be, and for that to be taken away from me in the circumstances it was, has been terribly difficult to cope with," he said.

"I don't know what the situation will be like in four years time with the Pakistan team, I guess only time will tell. Anyone who has been involved in the game of cricket finds it hard to totally move away from the sport. I want to be involved in cricket until death.

"I'm hopeful that I will be cleared of everything and I can resume playing cricket again as soon as possible."

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