Pakistani cricketing sensation Mohammed Asif is in trouble yet again. He tested positive for a banned substance during the inaugural of the Indian Premier League, say the tournament organizers.
He had played for Delhi Daredevils in the 20-over tournament during which eight players were said to have been subjected to random testing in accordance with the to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards. He is the only one to test positive.
Asif played eight of Delhi's 15 matches in the IPL, and shared the new ball alongside Glenn McGrath. He split the webbing on his right hand during the tournament.
It was while returning home, Asif was detained at the Dubai airport and a small quantity of opium was seized from him. With great difficulty the Pakistani authorities managed to get him released after 19 days of detention.
He was also warned that thereafter they won't go to his rescue. There is also a team constituted by the Pakistan Cricket Board to probe the Dubai incident. And now this development.
The IPL authorities said in a statement Monday, "The Indian Premier League compared the result from the WADA-approved laboratory in Switzerland with the data collected by IDTM, the Sweden-based independent agency which organised the anti-doping testing in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards, to confirm the player in violation is Mr Mohammad Asif."
The IPL medical committee then scrutinised the form filled by Asif prior to the test to verify but he had not applied for or been granted an exemption for the drug found in the sample. "It was also checked if Asif had applied for and was granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)," the press release said. "It was found that Asif had not applied for a TUE. A note in writing has been sent to the player and his home board and to the franchise on the findings."
"I am shocked and surprised because I was extra cautious and never used any banned substances," Asif told AFP
. "I don't know what to do. I will decide the next course of action only after consultation with the PCB."
Reacting to the development, Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, said that the board will take action according to their anti-doping policy. "We have gotten an email from the IPL confirming this. We have our own anti-doping policy which has an immediate suspension clause," he said. "We then set up a tribunal after that with a doctor, a lawyer and a Test cricketer to look into the matter. We have not yet suspended Asif but will take action according to our anti-doping policy."
Asif now has the right to request that his 'B' sample [supplied at the same time as the one that tested positive] be sent for analysis, which he and his representative can attend along with an IPL representative. Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, said the procedure will take about two weeks in case Asif sends his 'B' sample for testing.
If the 'B' sample also tests positive, the matter will be taken up by the IPL's drugs tribunal, comprising of Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Ravi Bapat (ex-Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences) and lawyer Shirish Gupte. The tribunal will study the issue and take a decision in accordance with the ICC's anti-doping code.
Asif, along with Shoaib Akhtar, had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in PCB's internal tests ahead of the Champions Trophy. He was banned for one year, which was overturned on appeal. Asif also cleared a dope test in August 2007 ahead of the World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Meanwhile the representative of the WADA in Pakistan has slammed the IPL for prematurely revealing the identity of the player who failed the dope test.
"The announcement cannot be made before the urine B sample is also analyzed in the presence of the player or his legal and medical representative," argued Dr.Danish Zaheer who also heads the Pakistan Sports Medicine Association.
He also felt that this glaring violation of the WADA regulation could help Asif win on appeal if only his case was handled well.