Mohammad Asif is recovering faster than expected from the injury that has forced him to sit out Pakistan's tour to India so far. According to one PCB official, there is even an outside chance that he might be in the frame for selection for the final Test in Bangalore, beginning from December 8.
Asif pulled out of the India tour at the very last minute, complaining of pain in his right elbow. It is a problem that has hounded him over the last 18 months, forcing him first to miss three Tests in England last summer as well as four of five ODI matches against South Africa last month.
But according to Shafqat Naghmi, the board's chief operating officer, Asif has started bowling again at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. "He is recovering faster than our expectations," Naghmi told The News. "He has started bowling at the academy and says there is no pain in his elbow."
But before any hopes of a surprise comeback in Bangalore can be entertained, the bowler has still to go to Australia to seek a third medical opinion on the injury. Two doctors in Pakistan have given conflicting advice, one suggesting surgery, the other complete rest and treatment.
"Asif will be leaving for Australia in the next couple of days because we want him to see another specialist there just to be on the safe side," Naghmi said.
"Asif is an important player for us and we are trying our best to get him fit as soon as possible. If he is fit and is needed by the team, he might play in the Bangalore Test."