Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Asif detained in Dubai

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif has been detained at Dubai airport for possession of illegal drugs, a Pakistan Cricket Board official said on Tuesday.

The Reuters news agency reported that Asif, who had been detained on Sunday on the way home from playing for Delhi in the Indian Premier League, is likely to be bailed. The Pakistan Cricket Board, which learnt of Asif's detention late on Sunday, have sent a team of officials to sort the matter out.

“Yes, he has been detained by authorities at Dubai airport for the last 36 hours,” Nadeem Akram told Reuters from Dubai. “We are co-ordinating with the Pakistan embassy and handling this issue.

“The substance recovered from him has been sent for tests. He is detained not arrested. We will now follow the legal procedures and we have hired lawyers for this purpose.”

Another official said on condition of anonymity that the controversy was “a big embarrassment for Pakistan cricket”.

It is the latest embarrassment for hapless Pakistan in a long line of them in recent years, that also have seen Asif and Shoaib Akhtar banned for testing positive for illegal substances only to have their bans overturned on appeal a month later in December 2006.

There was also the incident at The Oval in August 2006 when umpire Darrell Hair penalised the team for tampering with the ball, only to have that claim quashed at an independent hearing through lack of evidence.

Akhtar was sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup in September for striking Asif with a cricket bat, while the team coach Bob Woolmer tragically died in his hotel room last March, a day after the team had been eliminated by minnows Ireland. His death was treated as murder before that was ruled out at a later inquiry.

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