Asif dope scandal July 15, 2008

'Asif will have to fight case himself' - PCB

Cricinfo staff

The PCB is losing patience with Mohammad Asif © AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will leave Mohammad Asif to fend for himself over the fallout of his testing positive for a banned substance during the Indian Premier League (IPL).

This is Asif's second drug offence since failing a dope test before the Champions Trophy in 2006 and the board has warned that a life ban is possible if he is found guilty. Asif has pleaded innocence, claiming that he had been extra careful in avoiding usage of any banned substance.

However, shortly after completing his stint with the Delhi Daredevils, he 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.

"Our policy on dope offenders is very clear," Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, told The News. "The board will not provide any kind of help to Asif and he will have to fight his case himself.

"The player seems to be in a lot of trouble. A second drug offence means a life ban."

If he is left to fight for himself this time, it will signal a distinct change in the board's policy. In 2006, Asif and Shoaib Akhtar had their bans overturned after successfully appealing to an independent committee against the original puishments. Though they escaped on a technicality, it was widely speculated that the decision had the PCB's complicit support.

Then, last month, after Asif was detained at Dubai airport, the board subsequently provided legal aid and behind-the-scenes help to secure his release. Naghmi said the board has asked Asif to return those expenses.

The PCB's reluctance to help Asif may also stem from the confusion over which body - from the ICC, BCCI, IPL or the PCB - has jurisdiction over this latest scandal. The ICC in a release stated yesterday that it was the responsibility of the BCCI to "deal with the process in a timely and fair manner" and Naghmi said it's likely the BCCI would form a tribunal and the ICC's anti-doping policy would apply.

While the PCB has chosen to distance itself from the Asif case, it hasn't stopped former Pakistan cricketers from lashing out at its functioning. Aamer Sohail, a former captain, has blamed the board for not taking appropriate action against doping after Asif and Shoaib tested positive for a banned substance Nandrolone in 2006.

"My question is, what has the PCB done in this regard," Sohail told the paper. "What measures did the board take since Asif and Shoaib Akhtar tested positive for banned drugs in 2006? Did they introduce dope testing in domestic cricket? The board has totally failed to handle things."

"The last two years have been the worst for Pakistan cricket and the situation will get worse if no action is taken."