Pakistan recall Asif for Champions Trophy

August 21st, 2009 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

By Omar Khalid
Karachi, Aug 21 (IANS) Pakistan Friday recalled dope-tainted fast bowler Mohammad Asif for the Champions Trophy in South Africa, bringing him in place of under-performing all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.

Chief selector Iqbal Qasim announced the 15-man squad for the elite eight-nation tournament for which seasoned all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been promoted as vice-captain in place of misfiring middle-order batsman Misbah-ul-Haq.

“We have announced the best Pakistan team possible for what I believe is the toughest tournament in international cricket,” said Qasim, a former Pakistan Test spinner.

Pakistan have selected five fast bowlers for the tournament to be played from Sep 22 to Oct 5 and Qasim said the decision was made considering the playing conditions in South Africa.

“The wickets are usually bouncy in South Africa and the conditions offer both swing and seam movement for fast bowlers, which is why we have selected five pacers for the 15-man squad,” he said.

Asif, who last played for Pakistan in April last year, is back to spearhead the pace battery that includes Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and youngster Mohammad Aamer. The team includes only one specialist spinner - Saeed Ajmal.

Asif, who tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) last summer, is currently serving a one-year ban for doping that ends Sept 22.

The selectors have decided against keeping two specialist openers which means that wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal will open the batting with big-hitter Imran Nazir.

The team will assemble at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore from Sep 1 for a 10-day camp to be held under floodlights because of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Pakistan squad: Younis Khan (captain), Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi (vice-captain), Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Saeed Ajmal.

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