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July 14, 2008
Mohammad Asif has been confirmed as the player who tested positive for a banned substance during the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league has announced. The IPL, though, hasn't revealed the drug that was found in the sample that Asif, who played for the Delhi Daredevils, provided during random testing.
The IPL compared the result from the WADA-approved laboratory in Switzerland [that tested the samples] with the data collected by IDTM, the Sweden-based independent agency that organised the tests, and confirmed Asif as the player whose sample was positive.
The IPL medical committee then scruntinised 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)," an IPL 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 my lawyer." Asif was detained in Dubai for possession of contraband drugs last month for 19 days and he is already the subject of a board inquiry into those events.
Because of the globally unique nature of the case - Asif, as a Pakistani, tested positive at a domestic Indian tournament approved by the ICC - there is bound to be some confusion over final jurisdiction in the matter. The ICC had said in a release on Sunday that it was the responsibility of the BCCI to "deal with the process in a timely and fair manner". Though initially the PCB said they would also take action against Asif, the case is not so clear anymore.
Shafqat Naghmi, the board's chief operating officer, told Cricinfo that the ICC and PCB anti-doping policy don't specifically account for such a case. "Our anti-doping policy is aligned with the ICC's, but that doesn't account for a situation like this. But article 15.3.1 in WADA's code says that in the case where an international player tests positive in another country's tournament, the rules of the overall global governing body - the ICC here - are likely to apply.
"We need to study it a bit more before we make a decision: who will form a tribunal in this case? The BCCI or the PCB? We think it is likely that the BCCI will form a tribunal and ICC's anti-doping policy will apply," Naghmi concluded.
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 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. Greg Shipperd, the coach of the Delhi Daredevils, said he was unaware if any of his players had taken illegal substances. "They'd be pretty silly if they did take something they shouldn't," Shipperd told The Australian.
Asif, along with Shoaib Akhtar, had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in PCB's internal tests ahead of the Champions Trophy in 2006. 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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.