Asif set for return to cricket

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The Pakistan pace bowler will return to competitive cricket after a six month hiatus following an injury to his elbow.

Updated: April 15, 2008 12:29 IST
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Fast bowler Mohammad Asif makes a comeback to competitive cricket tomorrow after a six-month lay-off due to a chronic elbow injury that required him surgery in Australia.

Asif will appear for his domestic team National Bank in the national one-day championship semifinals here.

"I have been bowling in the nets and my elbow is much better now. But obviously the real test will come when I play the match and bowl ten overs," Asif said on Sunday.

Asif has not played competitive cricket since October last year when he was ruled out of the home one-day series against South Africa because of his elbow problem. He also missed the three-Test tour of India.

Despite his chronic fitness issue, Asif was given an 'A' category central contract of Pakistan Cricket Board in January. It upset Shoaib Akhtar, as he was not given a contract at all.

Asif said he was keen to play against Bangladesh in the one-day series, which starts from April 8 but the final decision was with the selectors.

"Right now I have completed my rehabilitation programme successfully and hope to do well in the national championship.

"If everything goes well then maybe I can make myself available for one or two games against Bangladesh," he said.

Pacer Umar Gul - nursing a back injury - is also returning to the side for the ODIs against Bangladesh, even as there were rumours about him considering moving to the Indian Cricket League.

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