Asif Should Be Given Time to Return to Form: Younis Khan

Karachi, Aug 31 (IANS) Pakistan cricket captain Younis Khan Monday said fast bowler Mohammad Asif, making a comeback after a year-long doping ban, should be given some time to return to form and not burdened with unrealistic expectations.

'He has not played any international level cricket for the last 1.6 year and to expect him to start delivering right away would be a bit unfair,' said Younis.

'It would be better if Mohammad Asif is left alone and given some time to regain his rhythm.'

Asif, 26, was included in Pakistan's 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy in South Africa, despite the fact that he is still serving the ban.

Asif's ban ends Sep 22, the same day the ICC Champions Trophy gets underway in South Africa.

Pakistan's coach Intikhab Alam welcomed the return of the talented fast bowler, saying that he would add a lot of firepower to the team's pace battery.

However, Asif's inclusion has been criticized by several other experts like former pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz and ex-Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas, who believe that he may be too rusty for an international comeback during the Champions Trophy.

Younis, meanwhile, said Pakistan has other reliable fast bowlers to do the job in South Africa.

'We have Umar Gul, who is a world class fast bowler. Then there is the experienced Rana Naved and Rao Iftikhar Anjum, who bowled really well in Sri Lanka. And there is young Mohammad Aamer, who is steadily improving.'

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