Pakistan want Asif to get back rhythm before starting playing

India middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh on Wednesday injured the little finger of his right hand during a training session in Johannesburg.

updated: September 23, 2009 12:07 IST
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Paceman Mohammed Asif's comeback to international cricket has been delayed as Pakistan has decided not to play him in their first match of the Champions Trophy.

The Pakistan think tank want Asif to practice more with the team before rushing him to the gruels of international cricket.

Asif completed a 12-month ban for a doping offence on Tuesday. He had joined the team on Sunday and returned to the national side after a gap of nearly 17 months because of disciplinary and dope issues.

"Asif will not be playing against the West Indies. He needs more time in the nets and to train with the team," Yawar Saeed, Pakistan team manager, said from Johannesburg.

Asif was expected to play against the West Indies on Wednesday. Yawar said Asif's return was a welcome news for the team as he was a bowler who could always challenge any batsman.

"But we feel he needs some more time in the nets to find his rhythm and tempo before he returns to the international arena," he added.

Pakistan will also be without their captain Younus Khan, who is recovering from a finger injury sustained during a warm up match against Sri Lanka at Benoni.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi will lead Pakistan in a one-dayer for the first although he has led them in Twenty20 cricket.