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June 5, 2008

The drugged cricketer

From McGrath to mug

Kamran Abbasi
Mohammad Asif rejoices after dismissing Brad Hodge, Australia v Pakistan, Group F, ICC World Twenty20, Johannesburg, September 18, 2007
 © AFP
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Mohammad Asif is a passionate cricketer. He demands wickets. He fumes and rages to unsettle his opponents. His attitude combined with exceptional skill at the beginning of his international career quickly established him as the beanpole star of Pakistan's bowling attack. Yet injuries and drugs have just as quickly brought him to his knees. A thrilling prospect has crashed into a bittersweet reality.

The IPL was meant to reinvigorate Asif's career, as well as his bank balance. The theory went that the McGrath of Sheikhupura would learn at the right hand of the McGrath of Dubbo. Yet it seems that any skill and discipline that Asif might have learned on the field was not imitated in his private life.

Asif, of course, would not be the first cricketer to be embarrassed by possession of recreational drugs. Indeed, two of his most illustrious predecessors required the Pakistan Government to extricate them from humiliation in the West Indies. Nor is possession and use of recreational drugs sufficient reason to end an international career, although it certainly demands disciplinary action.

But Asif's case is unique. His scrape with WADA should have taught him something very simple: a cricketer who truly cherished his international cricket career would have avoided all drugs. Remember, his drugs downfall was supposed to be because of wide-eyed innocence--not cheating--and the PCB had an onus to educate its tainted stars.

Now Asif is once again ruined by his own indiscipline. If the Dubai tests come back positive, the McGrath of Sheikhupura will become the Mug of International Cricket.

For Pakistan fans, at least Sohail Tanvir's T20 excellence could not have been better timed: a flicker of joy in the deepening depression of Pakistan cricket.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Keywords: Drugs

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Posted by Karinthia on (December 23, 2011, 1:33 GMT)

At last some rationality in our little detbae.

Posted by hafeez khan on (July 15, 2008, 18:56 GMT)

If some young street boy playing crciket in slumb road and streets in a village, and by luck some one find him and push him for national level, the poor guy become out of control, bcz the money invlove, fame and show put him in a very bad situation, the same case is with Mr.Asif,he got fame in matter of time, to keep playing in the national side he use all means which may be correct or illegal, how told him to go from India to Dubi with carrying ilegal substance in his kit.As it is aproved by the IPL adminstration that Asif have positive therefore it is the reponsibility of the PCB and also Govt.of Pakistan to take seviour action, if it proved.We are always linean with these players, which is called 'player power" See the other man who done every thing wrong, but board is under presure to put him in the players list for Champian Trophy( We are not shure whether it will be played in Pakistan due uncertain political situation. All the best,

Posted by noor on (June 14, 2008, 5:09 GMT)

Asif has an attitude problem. He think he is the a big star and nobody will dare pull him up for a drug test. In Pakistan where some stupid cricket crazy public will pander to Asif whims. Why dont these over bloated and over rated Paki players learn to behave themselves outside Pakistan. Asif has brought shame to Pakistani livivg abroad.

Drinking and doing drug is not an ideal model for a young Pakistani to follow.

Posted by Omer Admani on (June 11, 2008, 0:51 GMT)

It is not that big of a problem that Asif took a recreational drug. A severe punishment, supposing Asif is released from Dubai, is unwarranted (a ban of couple of years would be ridiculous). It would be all right if Asif received a 5,6 match ban, but a much more severe punishment doesn't fit the crime as the drugs weren't performance-enhancing and don't amount to cheating. Also, he has tested negative, so it seems to me that he got the drugs and put them in his wallet to get a 'high' but later forgot that he he had done so. Negligence. Certainly, a better and more consistent application of the mind would do a world of good to Pakistani players. Consider the wicket of Mohd Yousof.An ordinary ball got him out, and he-- being the epitome of concentration in the Pakistani team since that wonderful year-- also faltered after a few exceptional drives. The captain is spineless and Akmal cannot be in the team for his glove work. Akmal will only spoil bowlers' confidence and their careers.

Posted by Rizwan on (June 10, 2008, 17:31 GMT)

Saw the Pak-India match and saw how pathetic Pak team has become.

Saw how much swing Kumar was producing and was wondering what damage Under-19 hero Anwar Ali would have caused in such circumstances. Alas he is not in team although he was the best bowler for Pakistan academy, better than Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan. My advice to Anwar Ali: Migrate to another country ASAP as your talents will not be recognized in Pakistan.

Saw how Salman Butt again failed whenever there is a respectable opposition. Its high time to go with Nasir Jamshed and Khalid Latif or Khurram Manzoor.

Saw how poor decisions Shoaib Malik made. What was the logic of not playing an all-rounder Fawad Alam and instead playing a less than average bowler Rao Iftikhar?

Posted by Reluctant Pakistani Fan on (June 10, 2008, 11:51 GMT)

Asif should be punished to the full letter of the law. Enough is enough. We need to punish these idols for millions of kids. What message do we give to the youngsters? Indulge in drugs and our board will pull you out of trouble? That in my opinion is worse than losing one of the best bowlers in the world. Who knows, maybe a jail term would help him reflect on the embarrassment he has brought to his country. Might just bring him to his senses.

Posted by ruchit on (June 9, 2008, 17:14 GMT)

Haha... Once again a Pakistan National Cricket Team player gets into a muddle. it has become some characteristic on Pakistani crickets. I mean if not with bat and ball pakistani crickets are providing entertainment through other means now. On a serious note it is sad and unfortunate but alas it is true. Pakistan cricket seems to be going down the dump. But I think they still have enough fire power to thump my ever so complacent Indians tommorow!! Though only time will tell.

Regards. Ruchit Khushu.

Posted by L Mehta on (June 8, 2008, 21:25 GMT)

Kamran, well, isn't what this is all about? Flawed genius and what might have beens? However, look at the big issue: the captain with no spine. I say it is time to drop Shoaib Malik (just see today's effort). He is dead weight and has been. Hardly an inspiration for the team.Then the Board will be doing something right.

Posted by M. Y. Kasim. Houston. Tx. USA on (June 8, 2008, 21:03 GMT)

As far as Asif's case is concerned, the mere fact that he was carrying banned substance is sufficient to land him in jail under UAE laws.

Furthermore, whenever something comes up, there is more Paki-bashi than real cricketing issues or discussions, as if, this site is meant for defaming Pakistan. Granted Pakistan has several problems of its own but this is not the format nor others have the right to indulge in mud-slinging on another country.

Talk, discuss and criticize cricketing matters constructively in a civilized way and point a solution to any problem you deem fit.

Posted by someone on (June 8, 2008, 18:04 GMT)

Hey Kamran,

I am surprised you are blaming asif's antics on the board. Come on now please.

Many of you may be surprised, many won't believe me, but Mohammad Asif's cousin is my neighbor. Now first of all everyone uses recreational drugs to let the poor lad off. Yes, he's disappointed the nation, but which nation? The nation that has many other things to worry about right now. The nation who's younger population is evidently and openly indulged into drug trafficking, drinking, and all that exciting stuff.

Now, here's the synopsis: Asif does take drugs because he believes that he's a superstar and drugs make him think that he's the king of swing. He adores that feeling and hence is addicted to it. In Dubai, he rolled a splif in the hotel room using his credit card, smoked it, got lazy, and of course wasn't in the best state of mind anymore. In a hurry, he put the remaining "drug" in his wallet while putting the credit card back. He was high and totally forgot about it, which is normal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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