Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif is eyeing to return to the national side during the tour of England in 2016.
Pakistani bowler Mohammad Asif eyes to return to International Cricket during the Pakistan tour of England in 2016 after being given five-year ban on spot-fixing.
Asif and his co-conspirators, fellow seamer Mohammad Amir and then Pakistan captain Salman Butt, have completed five-year bans, while all three served jail terms for the conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “The door has been opened for me and it’s down to me to perform.
“Realistically, though, my target for a return to international cricket is the series in England next year and that is a target I have set myself.
“My fitness is fine and I weigh exactly what I did five years ago before I was banned. Mentally I am ready for a return to cricket but I have to be realistic and take things one step at a time. I’ve now started training at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore which will be a great help.”
In February 2011, Asif was handed a seven-year ban, the last two of which were suspended due to an apparent lack of contrition at the time, by an ICC tribunal although the additional tariff was not mandated.
He also served half of a one-year jail term at Canterbury Prison and now wants to make sure others avoid the pitfalls that have befallen him.
“That was a huge mistake and yes it’s a huge regret,” he said. “It’s a mistake that I want to warn the next generation of cricketers about and to ensure they learn from me and to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes that I made.
“I will speak with those young players face to face if the International Cricket Council and Pakistan Cricket Board want me to and lecture them about what I have faced in these last five years and warn them of the consequences.
“The last five years of my life have been very harsh and very hard for me. It wasn’t just tough for me, but it was also a very difficult time for my family. My family offered me a lot of support during these tough times particularly when I was serving time in prison in the United Kingdom.”
“I never thought that one day I would be sat in a prison cell,” he said. “But such is life, anything is possible. There have been many people who have had tough periods in their life and got through it. It was the same for me, I just wanted to get that tough period of my life over with and move forward. Nelson Mandela is someone who also had to go to prison and he got through that difficult time and he was my inspiration when I was in prison.
Pakistan will be touring England in 2016 for 4 Tests, 5 ODI’s and one Twenty20. In all likelihood, Asif has to prove himself with good match practice to his name although he feels that he is mentally ready.