Asif ruled out of Bangladesh ODIs
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif has been ruled out of next month's one-day series against Bangladesh as he hasn't completed his rehabilitation from an elbow surgery he underwent in Sydney last December. Asif has had a prolonged struggle with an elbow problem which has kept him out of international cricket since October 2007.
Pakistan's coach Geoff Lawson, though, was happy with the fitness of the other players in the national side. "Everybody else is fit for Bangladesh and that is a big bonus for us," he was quoted as saying in the Dawn newspaper. "Asif hopefully is also not too far away from playing again." The five-ODI series kicks off on April 8 in Lahore.
Asif, who was picked up by the Delhi franchise of the Indian Premier League for US$650,000, is keen to play in the Twenty20 tournament which starts on April 18. "It is a chance to play alongside my idol, Glenn McGrath, and try to learn from him," he said. "It is a great opportunity to learn from someone as experienced as McGrath, as I will get a chance to play with him for at least a month."
However, his participation in the IPL is in jeopardy as Pakistan Cricket Board officials are reportedly unwilling to give Asif a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to play in it because they fear he may suffer a recurrence of the elbow problem. The IPL requires all players to have a NOC from their national boards to participate in the league.
Asif also confirmed the PCB will not allow him to play for English county side Surrey in 2008. "I am not going to play for Surrey this year," Asif told AFP. "It would have been a great honour to play for them but Pakistan Cricket Board has not allowed me due to a hectic international schedule."
Umar Gul, another of Pakistan's bowlers plagued by injuries over the years, has also not been given permission to play in England. Worcestershire had expressed interest in Gul for the upcoming season last year. The Pakistan board had prevented Gul and Asif from taking up county contracts in 2007, though it later compensated both financially for the loss of earnings. It also prevented Rao Iftikhar Anjum from taking up a contract for 2008.