Jeff Thomson got impressed with his skills. “He looks very promising to me; he has good pace,” the Aussie fast bowling legend told Sportstar at Krishnagiri, Wayanad, where he had been conducting a camp for Kerala’s pace bowlers.
Jeff was talking about KM Asif, who grabbed the headlines after being bought in the IPL auction by Chennai Super Kings for Rs. 40 lakh, though he hasn’t made his First Class debut yet. And it is truly a rags to riches story for the 24-year-old from Edavanna, a village in Malappuram district.
Asif was sponsored by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for four years while he trained under Biju George at Thiruvananthapuram. “The KCA had taken care of my accommodation and food, as the conditions back home were not that good,” Asif told Sportstar. “I would not have reached this far in cricket if not for the support from the KCA.”
But, it was only during the recently concluded South Zone T-20 championship in Andhra that he himself discovered how quick he was. “It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I had clocked something like 144 kmph against Goa,” he said.
“I was fortunate that the match was being beamed live as people could notice that I was capable of bowling quick. It may have even helped me bag this contract in the IPL.”
The young pacer is looking forward to sharing the dressing room with the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo. “These are the players I have watched on television,” he said. “Like any Indian cricketer, the IPL has always been a dream.”
But, during his school days, Asif was dreaming of becoming a footballer, like almost every kid in Malappuram, which is known for its passion for the beautiful game and has produced several international players.
“It was after joining the GV Raja Sports School in Thiruvananthapuram that I began to take cricket seriously; till 15, football was my focus,” he said.
“Though I didn’t achieve much in age-group tournaments, I could travel with the Ranji team for five matches last year and was part of the squad for the entire season this year. That helped a lot, as I could work with a lot with men like Sandeep Warrier, a bowler I admire.”