Lahore:Disgraced Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif lauded his "rebirth" on Thursday, determined to put his derailed career back on track after learning his lesson from brushes with drugs.
The 26-year-old paceman, embroiled in failed dope tests and a detention case, spoke a day after he was included in the preliminary 30-man Pakistan squad for the Champions Trophy in South Africa in two months' time.
The paceman's fast-track career derailed last year after he failed a dope test in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), resulting in a one-year ban from all cricket.
The ban expires on September 22, the day when the biennial Champions Trophy starts in South Africa. Pakistan face the West Indies in their first match on September 23 in the event which ends on October 5.
"You can say that it's a sort of rebirth for me," Asif told AFP. "I was performing well but then suddenly my career derailed and it was tough to get over those difficult days."
Asif also faced the ignominy of being detained at Dubai airport for 19 days, found in possession of opium while returning from playing in the IPL last year.
Dubai police later deported him after investigators found the quantity of drug "insufficient" to make a case.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fined Asif one million rupees (12,500 dollars) over the detention case.
Asif and fellow paceman Shoaib Akhtar also failed dope tests conducted by the PCB in 2006. Akhtar was banned for two years and Asif for a year, but the bans were overturned on appeal.
Asif said he was determined to put the past behind him.
"Maybe these events happened so that I could learn my lesson," said Asif, who has taken 51 wickets in 11 Tests. His tally of wickets in 31 one-day internationals stands at 36.
"I would like to forget what happened to me over the last two years. I have learnt my lessons and will definitely do my best to avoid anything like this in the future.
"(The incidents) may have happened to teach me a lesson or to give me a chance to fully recover from an elbow injury which was hampering in bowling."
Asif said he was fully fit and raring up for the Champions Trophy.
"I am fit and have been bowling in the best of rhythms. South Africa is my favourite place and I did well when we went there to play a Test series in 2007, so this time around, again I want to help my team win the Trophy."
Asif also denied reports of marriage to popular Pakistani television host and film star Veena Malik.
"There are no truth in that news," said Asif. "I will marry only when I achieve more in cricket and only on the advice of my parents."