Pak board suspends paceman Asif

Lahore, July 15:

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today suspended fast bowler Mohammad Asif from all competition until an inquiry is completed by India, where he tested positive for a banned substance.

“We have suspended Asif from all cricket — neither can he be involved in any cricket-related activity nor can he hold any office relating to cricket,” PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said. “Asif will remain suspended from participating in cricket including its organisation, administration and promotion conducted by or under the auspices of PCB, ICC (International Cricket Council) or ICC members until final a decision, which includes appeal, comes.”

The Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday named Asif as the player who tested positive during the Twenty20 competition held from April to June. “The inquiry will be conducted by the IPL doping tribunal and whatever decision they take against Asif, we would back it,” said Naghmi. He said the PCB had zero tolerance on doping and will deal with the latest controversy in Pakistan cricket as per rules.

Naghmi said the matter will now be dealt with by IPL and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“As the sampling was done by IPL/BCCI, therefore under the ICC Anti-Doping Code, the matter has been referred to the IPL Drug Tribunal.” Naghmi said the PCB will back any decision by Indian authorities.

“PCB shall offer every reasonable assistance to ICC and other ICC members as they may require for the implementation and enforcement of their Anti-Doping regulations and remain closely associated with the proceedings,” he added.

Asif’s lawyer Shahid Karim said he would do his best to clear the player. “We will ask for the B sample test as and when possible,” he said.

Asif also tested positive for banned drugs with Shoaib Akhtar in October 2006. He was then banned for one year and Akhtar for two years. The bans were however lifted on appeals.

Asif was detained in Dubai for 19 days over possession of opium last month . He was later deported after the quantity of the drug was found to be “insignificant.”

Akhtar included for Champions Trophy

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today included paceman Shoaib Akhtar in the provisional 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy.

A Pakistani court earlier this month said Akhtar was free to play cricket again after suspending an 18-month ban imposed on him by the PC) for indiscipline.

Pakistan had to delay the announcement after Akhtar was asked to pay a $162,000 fine, which was imposed by an appellate tribunal last month along with the ban — that replaced an original five-year ban imposed earlier this year. Akhtar’s lawyer on Monday assured Akhtar will pay the fine once his appeal against his latest ban is decided.

Akhtar was in April banned for five years over a series of disciplinary violations, including public criticism of the PCB on excluding him from a list of 15 contracted players. He was already on two years’ probation for hitting Asif with a bat days before the Twenty20 World Cup.

Pakistan hosts the Champions Trophy from September 11-28 but the eight top teams event will be played under a cloud after players from Australia, New Zealand and England raised safety concerns. — AFP