x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Asif's career is in the balance

Mohammed Asif says that he is "shocked" at the news he tested positive for a banned substance during the Indian Premier League.

The Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif.
The Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif.

KARACHI // The Pakistan cricketer Mohammed Asif says that he is "shocked" at the news he tested positive for a banned substance during the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL confirmed on Sunday that an unnamed player had returned a positive sample during the tournament after a World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Switzerland informed the International Cricket Council of an adverse analytical finding. And an IPL statement last night confirmed Asif as the player in question. "I am shocked and surprised because I was extra cautious and never used any banned substance," said Asif, 25. "I was tested after the semi-final, but I thought the reports might have come earlier and I had cleared the test." Asif said he would talk to the Pakistan Cricket Board before deciding on his next course of action. The announcement is the latest in a succession of controversies to blight Asif's career. Following the Delhi Daredevils' semi-final elimination from the IPL, Asif was detained by authorities in Dubai for more than two weeks after a powder was found in his wallet. Asif was eventually freed, but deported, when the public prosecutor dropped the case, citing "insignificance". His deportation could jeopardise any potential hearing he could face into the case at the ICC headquarters in Dubai as, it is believed, he is banned from the UAE for life. Asif was also at the centre of a drug claim two years ago when he was found guilty, along with fellow pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar, of taking the performance-enh-ancing substance nandrolone. Asif was handed a one-year ban but that, along with that of his teammate, was overturned by a PCB review tribunal. The Court of Arbitration for Sport appealed that decision, but was forced to dismiss the case "with some considerable regret" after it was decided they had no jurisdiction to intervene under PCB rules. Asif's fate is not yet sealed in this latest case with the player holding the right for a B sample to be analysed. Sundar Raman, the IPL chief operating officer, said: "It's not a happy situation. But having said that, the IPL follows a zero-tolerance policy towards doping. "The drugs tribunal which has been set up will act on the next step based on whether the player wants his B sample tested or not. "Clearly the franchisees (Delhi Daredevils) are of the opinion that whatever has to happen in this case will happen and the next course of action will be determined by the official body and the drugs tribunal which has been set up." The player, along with his representatives, will have the right to attend the opening of the B Sample should they choose to follow that route, with the results to be referred to a three-man tribunal. Asif could face a ban of five years and a fine from the IPL if he is found guilty. The tribunal consists of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Ravi Bapat and lawyer Shirish Gupte. A statement from the IPL read: "The Indian Premier League compared the result from the WADA-approved laboratory in Switzerland with the data collected by IDTM, a Sweden-based independent agency which organised the testing, to confirm the player in violation is Mr Mohammad Asif. A note in writing has been sent to the player and his home board and to the franchisee on the findings." kshyam@thenational.ae