Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Asif's stint in the inaugural million-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) is in question after he has been sidelined by a chronic elbow injury, the media reported here on Tuesday.
Asif, who emerged as the spearhead of the Pakistani pace battery with a string of impressive outings in 2006, has not played any competitive game since breaking down with an elbow problem during the home series against South Africa in October 2007.
According to a report in The News, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to clear Asif for next month's home series against Bangladesh starting April 8 that involves five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game.
The Sheikhupura-born bowler missed Pakistan's tour of India in November-December 2006 and was also unavailable for a one-day series at home against Zimbabwe earlier this year.
But despite his injury problems, the 25-year-old tearaway was snapped up for $650,000 by the Delhi IPL team. In fact he got a better deal than his illustrious team mate Shoaib Akhtar ($425,000).
However, with $ 675,000, all rounder Shahid Afridi got a better deal.
Asif began training a few weeks back but faces a race against time to get fit for the Bangladesh series. If he fails to prove his fitness by playing against the Bangladeshis, it would be difficult for him to get a clean chit from the PCB to play in the IPL, which gets underway from April 18 and will run for 44 days.
The PCB has already refused him and fellow pacer Umar Gul permission to sign up for county stints this year in a bid to save them from injury and burnout.