Known for not holding back and speaking his heart out, Shoaib Akhtar praised Mohammed Asif as the smartest bowler he has ever seen, while keeping aside their past differences when the duo were involved in a dressing room melee.
Pakistan's fastest bolwer to this day, Akhtar felt that Asif made batting greats cry because he was smarter than bowlers like Mohammed Amir, Jasprit Bumrah and Wasim Akram.
"I think he probably is the smartest fast bowler. Bumrah, Mohammad Amir and even bigger than Wasim Akram, the guy that I've seen bowling is Mohammad Asif. I have actually seen batsmen crying while facing Asif. Laxman once said 'how will I face this guy', AB de Villiers literally started crying during the Asian Test Championship," Akhtar told Sports Today.
Asif's career came to halt in 2010 after getting convicted 2010 spot fixing scandal as he received a seven-year ban. Earlier in 2006, Akhtar and Asif also tested positive for using performance enhancement drugs.
He further added that Bumrah and Asif are the smartest fast bowlers in world cricket at the moment.
"But I think after Asif, Bumrah is the smartest fast bowler presently. People were doubtful about his fitness in Test cricket, even I was watching him closely. He has a quick bouncer, is deceptive and sharp and a good character this guy is," Akhtar said.
"Bumrah has aggression in his length, not in his body. This is how I'm going to define Bumrah. Their is aggression in the length he bowls, he defeats the batsmen with his length. His body language is not aggressive, he's the nicest guy I've come across. But when he comes to bowl, in those 5 seconds he showcases his aggression in his length.
"It's during those 5 seconds when he bowls that he tells the batsman 'your not going to be better than me'. What I find very nice about him is that he thinks about his bowling, he's a team man, good fast bowler and he's a match-winner. What I feel should do is gain a bit of muscle mass. I told this to Hardik Pandya also during the Asia Cup. Even Ravi Shastri agreed with me on this," Akhtar said.