Mohammad Asif relieved after ICC’s clarification

Karachi [Pakistan], Dec.6 : Pakistan tainted fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who was convicted in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, has revealed he has decided to shift his focus completely on bowling after the International Cricket Council's (ICC) clarification about his future.

The ICC had clarified that it did not ask the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to stop any of the three cricketers---Asif, Mohammad Amir and former skipper Salman Butt, who all served spot-fixing bans, from returning to the international cricket.

There were speculations that the ICC had asked the PCB not to allow the three cricketers, especially Asif and Butt, to return to the national side.

Downplaying the claims, the world's cricket governing body said it is solely up to the country's board to decide whether to select these players or not.

"All the three players became eligible to return to domestic and international cricket after their bans expired in September 2015.

The ICC has not asked the member board [PCB] to not select them or any one of the three players since they completed the sanctions.

It is solely on the discretion of the member board to select these players," the Express Tribune quoted the ICC spokesperson as saying.

The 33-year-old, who had earlier revealed that he would write a letter to the ICC to seek an explanation for these speculations, said he is relieved to hear the reply and added that he would now work harder to gain his place back into the national side.

"I was very concerned about my future when these rumours surfaced. That was affecting my performance because I was confused. Now I am clear [on the issue] and will focus completely on my bowling. I have plenty of cricket left in me and will continue to work hard for a return to the national team," he said.

Asif, whose ban from spot-fixing expired at the end of Pakistan's domestic cricket season last year, made his List-A return in the National One-Day Cup , where he bagged a total of seven wickets in as many games at the strike rate of 43.

However, his performance couldn't earn him a spot in the Pakistan Super League, a lucrative domestic T20 league.

Butt, on the other hand, insisted that he never had any doubts about his ability to return to the international fold before adding that these kind of rumours hardly affect him.

The former skipper further said he is only looking forward to give good performances in domestic cricket in order to gain national selectors' attention.

"I was in contention for the World T20 and then the England tour. "This means there was no embargo on my selection from the ICC. I have not contemplated contacting the ICC over my selection and neither have I given any such statement.

I am aware that only a good performance in domestic cricket will make my case for a return to the national side and that's what I am doing," said Butt.

Asif, along with Amir and Butt, were found guilty of various offences of corrupt behaviour relating to the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan in August 2010 by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal in February 2011.

Although Amir has returned to the national team in impressive style against New Zealand in January this year, Asif and Butt remained sidelined and are yet to be considered for Pakistan selection.

Source: ANI