The new Pakistani cricket sensation Mohammad Asif may be back home, but not yet out of the woods. The International Cricket Council says it is awaiting report from Pakistan on the recent Dubai incident.
The 26-year-old speedster is a darling of Pakistan cricket because of his bowling prowess. The country's authorities strained every nerve to get him off the hook and heaved a big sigh of relief when the UAE government chose to send him back without pressing drug charges against him.
Asif had to spend 19 days in detention after some banned drug was recovered from him at the airport.
He returned home Friday, maintaining innocence. Pakistan cricketing officials too asserted he was only repatriated and not deported as claimed by a section of the international media.
A report in Dubai-based Khaleej Times said that Asif had been banned from entering the UAE.
"Since he is being deported for a drug-related offence, Asif is likely to face a life-long entry ban to the UAE," the newspaper reported.
Pakistan Control Board Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf said Asif had tested negative for use of banned drugs during the Indian Premier League and so was the case in Dubai.
"The Dubai police and the prosecutor acted professionally and conducted the case very efficiently. They handled the case according the law," said Dr Ashraf.
However, he also said Asif will not be playing in the forthcoming Asia Cup and would be facing an internal inquiry.
"I have formed a fact-finding inquiry committee consisting of Shafqat Naghmi (chairman) with Zakir Khan and Nadeem Akram as its members. They have been asked to acquire all the documents related to the case, establish facts and after complete investigation, submit a report to me. The same report will be sent to the ICC," the PCB chairman said.
It has been learnt that the ICC has asked the PCB to submit a report about the fast bowler. An official of the ICC said that ICC would take a decision after receiving a report from PCB, which in return has announced to form a fact-finding committee to probe the matter.
"Based on the judgment's copy we will consider whether Asif can be pardoned or not. A crime is a crime and any player who has committed it will be punished," Dr Ashraf said.
"It is a relief that he has been released but it is a fact that this incident caused a lot of embarrassment and gave sleepless nights to the Board.
PCB's Chief Operating Officer Shafqat Naghmi was quoted by Gulf News as saying: "We have yet to receive a copy of the judgment from our lawyers, or authorities in Dubai. We will have to study the case before passing a judgment on Asif."
Meanwhile the Organising Committee of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will be carrying out dope test of the players of various teams during the 9th Asian Cup cricket tournament starting simultaneously in Lahore and Karachi from June 24.
According to reliable reports gathered on Friday, the ACC has acquired the services of experts in carrying out these dope tests of the players as per the ruling of International Cricket Council (ICC) and World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
All the regulations of WADA will be applied when conducting these tests. The samples will be sent to Malaysia, Thailand or China where doping control facilities are available.
A couple of players of each team after every match will be asked to undergo doping procedure.