Mohammad Asif is getting ready to play for the Christiania Cricket Club in Oslo in Norway ahead of Pakistan’s upcoming domestic season, according to latest reports.
Although playing cricket in a Scandinavian country is not at all the best way to prepare for a Test match comeback, the 33-year-old still thinks he can make a return to international cricket. “My dream is to make a comeback and play for three to four years,” he said. “I want to play a good standard of cricket again – that’s my dream,” he added.
If things were right, Asif would have been enjoying the prime of his career now, but he once made certain bad decisions in life, both on and off the field, which have landed him in Oslo. “One of my friends called me to come and play some cricket here,” he said. “There’s good weather for training – that’s why I came here,” he added.
The tainted pacer has already completed his five-year suspension from cricket since he was found guilty of spot-fixing in England six years ago.
Asif was subsequently banned by ICC along with Salman Butt, the then Pakistan skipper, and Mohammad Amir. Both of the pacers bowled deliberate no-balls against England during the infamous Lords Test in the 2010 series after which, the International Cricket Council adjudged him guilty in February 2011. Asif also had to serve a six-month sentence in England following a trial at the Southwark Crown Court.
However, the ban lifted in September last year. In January earlier this year, Asif made a comeback to domestic cricket while playing for Water and Power Development Authority.
“The last five years were the toughest for me and for my family but I am happy that that period is over now and I am back on the field,” Asif said earlier in January. “I have been training for the last five years.”
Asif and Butt were both included in the squad for the four-day tournament ahead of the one-day games but were not allowed to play. He later captained the Sialkot Region team in a grade-two tournament. The Pakistani pacer also signed up for the Caribbean Premier League players draft but none of the franchises picked him.
Mohammad Asif has played 23 Tests, 38 One-Day Internationals and 11 Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan and has 165 wickets across all formats since making his debut for Pakistan.
It was just six years ago that this extremely talented right-arm bowler was ranked World No 2 in Tests behind South Africa’s Dale Steyn.
With Mohammad Amir already included in Pakistan’s Test team for England tour, Asif now believes that he can return to international cricket as well.