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Pakistan pace ace Asif gets pay boost

Written by: Staff
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KARACHI, Apr 14 (Reuters) Pakistan pace sensation Muhammad Asif has been given a pay raise after his impressive performances against India and Sri Lanka.

The 23-year-old had earned the pay raise after picking up an impressive 24 wickets in his last three tests, said a Pakistan Cricket Board official.

''He was being paid 30,000 rupees (500 dollar) as a monthly retainer and this has now been increased to 75,000,'' Director Abbas Zaidi told Reuters. ''This monthly raise is besides match fees and other incentives paid to the players per test and one-day appearances.'' Asif, who hails from a village near Sheikhupura, a small town in eastern Punjab, has signed up to play for English county Leicestershire before Pakistan's tour begins in late June.

The official said Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer had spoken to Leicestershire and asked them to keep Asif's workload to a minimum to keep him fit for the series.

''Woolmer is concerned with the workload Asif has carried in the last few months and does not want a situation where the youngster gets stale for Pakistan's matches,'' he said.

Asif, who took 11 for 71 in Pakistan's test win over Sri Lanka at Kandy earlier this month, said he was looking forward to his stint with the county.

''Playing in England has always been a big ambition for me.

I am hoping to learn and improve a lot from my stint with Leicestershire. It will help me prepare for our tour,'' he said.

Asif has carried the workload of the Pakistan attack in the absence of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who is recovering from a knee injury.

Shabbir Ahmed has been banned for a year since last December for an illegal bowling action and Muhammad Sami has been dropped for poor form.

Asif, who has played in five tests and nine one-day Internationals, joins Leicestershire after Pakistan's two one-dayers against India in Abu Dhabi next week.

REUTERS PDS PM1617

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