Friday, November 6, 2009

Mohammad Asif raring for Test comeback

Mohammad Asif, the Pakistan fast bowler, who is hoping to play his first Test in more than two years later this month has vowed to make up for lost time due to several drug-related controversies. Asif, 26, has been named in Pakistan's squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand, which starts November 24.

"I have not played in New Zealand but have heard a lot about the pitches and conditions there and hopefully if I can get a chance I will make an impact," Asif said. "The key is to focus on just cricket and try to make up for lost time."

He has already made his limited-overs comeback during the ICC Champions Trophy after a year-long suspension for testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone. He showed off his ability in his first game on return by grabbing two wickets as Pakistan nearly scripted a sensational turnaround against Australia.

Originally named in the one-day side and Twenty20s to take on New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he was left out since he is banned from entering the UAE after being stopped with a small quantity of opium at Dubai airport last year (criminal charges were not pressed).

Asif is tuning up for his Test return by playing Pakistan's domestic first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he has taken 23 wickets in five matches. "The good thing is that I have been playing regularly in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches," he said. "That has helped me find my rhythm and form and get my confidence back. There is nothing better for a bowler then to bowl in the longer version of the game."

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