Former South Africa batter Hashim Amla has called former Pakistan quick Mohammad Asif a “magician”.

Amla was asked to name the bowler who challenged him the most tactically by Mark Nicholas ahead of the fourth day’s play between South Africa and India on SuperSport Cricket, to which the former Proteas captain said, “For me, it was Mohammad Asif from Pakistan.”

“I felt he was just a magician with the ball. I couldn’t tell any difference in his hand, in the release of the ball, whether it was going away or going in. He managed to shape it in the air if there was shape in the air, and if there was no shape in the air, he could nip the ball and it felt like he was nipping it at will. So, I’d leave a ball, nip back, clipped off stump. I’d play a ball, nip away, and find the edge.”

Nicholas went on to compare Asif to Vernon Philander, stating that the two bowled similar lengths, pace, and had the ability to get the ball to talk. Amla, however, added that Asif’s height added to the danger.

“He (Asif) was slightly more taller than Verne (Philander), so it always felt like there was a little more bounce but he was just a beautiful bowler to watch and not so nice to face.”

Amla faced Asif in five Tests and was dismissed by the Pakistan speedster five times, including on both occasions during the third Test between the two countries at Cape Town in January 2007.