ISLAMABAD: Pacer Muhammad Asif has said that the Pakistan cricket team belongs to the nation and any player not wanting to play alongside him or the two others belonging to the “banned trio” should worry more about their own selection in the team.
“This is not a local village team where some players don’t want others to play. If one or two players don’t want to play alongside us, then who knows, those players may not be in the team themselves in the future,” said Asif, in an interview.
In an apparent reaction to Tanvir Ahmed’s statement in which he had said some current players would not welcome back the ‘banned trio’, Asif said players come and go and nobody has an automatic or guaranteed selection.
“If Pakistan needs us in the team in the future, then we will be picked regardless of what some individual players’ feelings are,” he said.
Asif said there are a couple of players who are speaking out the trio who recently were given a clean-chit to resume playing cricket.
“I have no problems at all with that as it is their opinion. They (former players) aren’t selectors and I don’t think they will influence the selectors as what matters is our performance on the field,” he said.
Asif said there are also a number of other former players who feel we deserve another chance and I think that opinion among former Pakistan players is probably 70/30 in our favour.
“There are people who are for me and against me. I actually get more energy from people who are against me as I want to show those people what I am still capable of and to prove them wrong,” he said.
Talking about his return to international cricket, Asif said it is too early at this stage to speak about a return to international cricket.
“My fitness is fine and I weigh exactly what I did five years ago before I was banned. Mentally, I am ready for a return to cricket but I have to be realistic and take things one step at a time,” he said.
Asif said he has been given some targets by the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding fitness.
“I have now started training at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore which will be a great help. If I perform well, the selectors can pick me. If I don’t perform, the selectors will ignore me,” he said. The paceman is targeting a return to international cricket in England next year.