Oslo: Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif has ended up playing in Norway as he plots a return to Test cricket, five years after a notorious spot-fixing scandal, a report said.
Asif, 33, told the Cricinfo website he was playing with Oslo’s Christiania Cricket Club to work on his fitness and was “100 percent sure” he’d play for Pakistan again.
Asif was caught bowling no-balls to order against England at Lord’s in 2010, an offence which landed him with a jail term and a five-year ban.
“One of my friends called me to ask me to come and play some cricket,” he said, of his arrival in the cricketing backwater.
“There’s good weather for training — that’s why I came here. The cricketing standard is not too high but it’s still cricket.”
Asif’s one-time new-ball partner Mohammad Amir, now 24, is back in the Pakistan squad despite his involvement in the spot-fixing and is in line to return to Test cricket — uncannily, at Lord’s — next month.
But Asif and Salman Butt, their former captain who was also punished over the scandal, remain outside the international fold.
“Hopefully I will do well in Pakistan and get selected for the national team for the tours to New Zealand and Australia,” Asif said, referring to Pakistan’s two series from November to January.
“It’s quite difficult after five years to come down and bowl fast but I’m a different kind of bowler,” he added.
“I’m not like a 100-mile bowler — I’m more dependent on swing and seam, they’re my main weapons. My pace was always 130 or 135 kph (81-84 mph).
“This (Oslo) is a good pace for swing. I just need good fitness.”