Senate recommends life ban for Asif

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pakistan's Senate sports committee Tuesday recommended that troubled fast bowler Mohammad Asif be banned from cricket for life over his detention in Dubai last year for opium possession.

The 26-year-old fast bowler was detained in June for nearly three weeks as he was returning to Pakistan after playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dubai police deported him without charge, saying the quantity of illegal drugs found was insufficient, but barred him from the United Arab Emirates for life.

Asif told prosecutors he had used the opium, but claimed he believed it was simply a herbal remedy that would boost his energy.

"Youngsters will be encouraged to take drugs if Asif is not banned for life,"
committee member Enver Baig told a hearing at which officials from the sport's governing body were asked to testify.

The committee demanded that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) launch a full probe into the incident, saying Asif's actions had tainted the country's reputation.

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said he had not yet seen a report from Dubai prosecutors about the incident, even though it was leaked to the media on Sunday.

Asif is also facing a possible two-year ban after failing a drugs screening test during the inaugural IPL season last year. He was due to appear before the IPL doping tribunal on January 24.

Asif and fellow pace-man Shoaib Akhtar failed drugs tests in 2006. A PCB tribunal banned Akhtar for two years and Asif for one year, but that decision was overturned on appeal.

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