Mohammad Asif: I wish I was facing England with Amir

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport in Oslo
Mohammad Asif: Every human being has made a mistake

Pakistan's Mohammad Asif has backed Mohammad Amir to trouble England again - and wishes he was bowling with him.

Amir, 24, and Asif, 33, shared 31 England wickets in the 2010 Test series before they were caught spot-fixing at Lord's, leading to bans and jail terms.

While Amir prepares to return to Lord's on Thursday, Asif is playing in Norway and targeting a recall of his own.

"Amir can do again what he did before," Asif told Stumped. "English conditions are very useful for him. I miss them."

He added: "I would love to play in English conditions. I can swing it both ways. You get a hundred partnership, then suddenly the clouds come over, the ball starts moving and you can get a quick five or six wickets."

Mohammad Asif bowling
Asif is working on his fitness playing club cricket in the suburbs of Oslo

With 106 wickets from 23 Tests, Asif was ranked the second best bowler in the world before his five-year ban for bowling deliberate no-balls for cash.

That ban expired last year and he is currently playing club cricket among Norway's Asian ex-pat community to gain fitness for the Pakistani domestic season in September.

He hopes to be back in contention for Pakistan's tours of New Zealand and Australia from November.

"I have a couple of good friends here," he said. "In Pakistan at the moment, it's quite hot, but here it's good for cricket, lots of greenery and nice weather.

"The next season is very important for me. I want to come back and play a good standard, international standard, so I need to work hard and train hard.

"There are a few hurdles. I need to get fit, perform well and then my aim is to go with the team on the Australia and New Zealand tour."

'Every human being has made a mistake'

The return of Amir, Asif and captain Salman Butt has divided cricket.

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja and ex-England spinner Graeme Swann are among those who believe they should have been banned for life.

Asif argues that everyone deserves a second chance.

"Every human being has made a mistake," he said. "We made a mistake, we apologised and, after a mistake, everyone has the right to come back on track.

"It was a hard time, I went to jail and was banned and things got worse and worse. But, in the last year, things are getting better and better.

"I am very happy and I am back in cricket with the ball in my hand. I can't talk, my ball will talk."

'Play like a gentleman'

Asif says he took inspiration from Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali during his six-month prison term in the UK as he focused on rebuilding his life and career.

Now he is helping young cricketers avoid making the same mistakes as him.

"I have helped a lot with the Pakistan Cricket Board, visiting schools and regional teams to educate them to do right," he said.

"I told them not to go wrong. Cricket is a gentleman's game, so play like a gentleman.

"I have told the ICC that whenever they need my help to educate young people or awareness against corruption, call me, I am available any time."

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