Asif hopes to make strong comeback | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Asif hopes to make strong comeback

cricket Updated: Aug 26, 2009 19:40 IST

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Disgraced Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif on Wednesday said he was satisfied with his level of fitness and hoped to live up to the expectations of the Cricket Board and his fans by making a strong comeback in the Champions Trophy in South Africa next month.

"I am eager to represent Pakistan again. I am satisfied with my state of fitness. I know I can make a impact in the Champions Trophy," said Asif, who is back into the national squad after a 16-month lay off due to a ban for doping and other disciplinary offences.

"I would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board for showing trust in me. I would also like to thank the whole nation for having confidence in me," said Asif.

"I want to perform well in the Champions Trophy and hope to play a major role in team's victory in the mega event," said Asif.

The pace bowler was banned in July 2008 by the PCB after he had tested positive in the Indian Premier League and also for being detained in Dubai for 19-days in June last year for possession of hashish.

The IPL drugs inquiry tribunal later banned him for 12-months for his doping offence and that ban ends on September 22 the same day the Champions Trophy begins in Johannesburg.

Asif has been training at an emerging players camp in Karachi under the supervision of former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif to regain his match fitness for the big event.

But his selection has come in for criticism by former Test players who believe the selectors have blundered by hurrying Asif back into international cricket despite his 16-months layoff from all cricket.

The feeling is that Asif could break down in the Champions Trophy as his match fitness is still untested and unclear.

The Board has instructed Asif not to speak to the media in Karachi but in a written statement released today, he said that he had worked hard and benefited from the emerging players camp.

The emerging camp at the National Stadium Karachi (NSK) and Coaching staff (Trainers, Physio, video analysts and skills development coaches) has played a huge part in building my confidence.

"During the matches I bowled with full rhythm and the match-like situation helped me in gaining the much needed match practise," said Asif.