Cricket followers will see Pakistan fast bowler Mohammed Asif in a new avatar this month with news that the 35-year-old right-arm pacer will participate in a tennis ball cricket tournament in the UAE.
Asif tested the best batsmen in the world at the highest level before his fall from grace following the 2010 Lord’s Test spot-fixing scandal.
Asif was banned from the game for five years for his part in the scandal that also involved Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir. While Amir is back in the senior team, Asif and Butt await their chance.
Asif has returned to domestic cricket in Pakistan and Asif was on Saturday unveiled as a ‘key player’ in the second edition of 10PL which will be held from March 19-23 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Asif will turn out for Shehenshah Warriors, part of 16 teams that will participate in the tournament.
Asif who has played 23 Tests, 38 ODIs and 11 T20s for Pakistan, is hoping to make an impact in the 10-over tournament.
“I have played this form of cricket a lot on the streets of Pakistan. Almost all of us have learned a lot by playing this brand of cricket. I am hoping to pass on my experience to the rest of the squad and along the way, gain a lot myself. I cannot wait to get back on the field at the Sharjah Stadium,’’ said Asif.
In the first edition of 10PL, former Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman Zulqarnain Haider tried his hand at professional tennis cricket.
This year apart from Asif, other international players like Sri Lanka’s Thilan Thushara and Chamara Silva are also likely to feature in the tournament. From India, a number of players who have played domestic Ranji Trophy are listed in squads, alongside former Rajasthan Royals paceman Kamran Khan.
The tournament is the brainchild of UAE-based Petromann Events. The tournament boasts the highest prize money for tennis ball cricket anywhere in the world at Dh250,000.
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