UAE clearance too late for banned Asif


KARACHI – Pakistan said Tuesday that paceman Mohammad Asif had been given permission to play in the United Arab Emirates, though the dispensation counts for little given his seven-year international ban. Asif was barred from entering the UAE after he was found in possession of a banned drug – opium – while en route home from India in June 2008. He was held for 19 days and then deported after police found the quantity insufficient to bring a case against him.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said it had heard through the foreign ministry that the UAE had agreed to let Asif into the country for cricket matches. For security reasons, Pakistan has been forced to play its recent home series in the UAE and in this regard sought a special entry visa for the paceman. But the permission for Asif came too late, after the ICC banned him for seven years in February over spot-fixing charges.
Asif and fellow Pakistan players Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer were banned by an ICC anti-corruption tribunal on charges of spot-fixing relating to last year’s Lord’s Test against England. The trio have appealed against the punishments, but there is currently no date for any hearing. Asif has so far played 23 Tests, 38 one-dayers and 11 Twenty20 internationals in a career marred by bans and discipline problems.
The bowler was in Lahore on Tuesday and told media that he still harbours hopes of being cleared in Britain and resuming his international career.