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Pakistan recalls Asif for Champions Trophy - Mr.Bhat - 08-21-2009

KARACHI: Dope tainted pacer Mohammad Asif was recalled while all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who quit the ICL to play for the country, was left out as
Pakistan announced its 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Asif, who was suspended for testing positive in the Indian Premier League last year, will complete a 12-month ban on September 22, the day the tournament begins in South Africa.

He was even banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board in July, 2008 for the same offence and also for his 19-day ordeal in Dubai in June last year.

Pakistan chief selector Iqbal Qasim said Asif, who last played an ODI in April 2008 against Bangladesh, was drafted into the team after careful assessing his form and fitness.

"Asif has been picked after a careful assessment of his match fitness and form by the selectors and also by former captain Rashid Latif, who supervised his training in the emerging players camp here," Qasim said.

Qasim said Asif was considered for the team as the Champions Trophy does not start until September 22 and there is ample time for him to train hard and recover his fitness.

"The report we have got is he will be 100 per cent match fit and is bowling well."

Qasim said the selectors had tried to pick a balanced squad for the eight-nation tournament and were forced to drop Razzaq.

"We would have liked to have him in the team but unfortunately we can only pick 15 players and he has struggled for fitness in Sri Lanka," the former Test spinner said.

Senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf, however, has retained his place in the team.

The selectors also debated on the inclusion of experienced opener Salman Butt but the chief selector said it was decided to go with just one opener Imran Nazir since Pakistan had the option of makeshift openers in Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi and even Fawad Alam and Shoaib Malik.

The squad: Younus Khan (Capt), Imran Nazir, Misbah-ul-Haq, Muhammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Rana Naved, Kamran Akmal, Rao Iftkhar, Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Aamer, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul.

Reserve players: Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Talha, Wahab Riaz, Shaharyar Ghani, Khalid Latif.