No evidence against me: Asif


Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif on Friday said there had been no evidence for his conviction in Britain for corruption and spot-fixing, a day after he was released following six months in prison. “I spent the six months under difficult circumstances,” Asif told Pakistan’s Geo television in London, in his first public remarks since being freed from Canterbury jail on Thursday after serving half his 12-month prison term.
Asif, who was released from jail in Britain on Thursday, has thanked his family members, friends and fans for supporting and encouraging him during his imprisonment. Recalling movements from the jail term, the former fast bowler of the Pakistani team said he would call to his house back in Pakistan twice or thrice a day. He would play soccer and badminton instead of cricket.
In his first media interaction, Muhammad Asif said that he was hopeful of joining the Pakistan’s national team. He said that his lawyers would move a review petition against the sentence handed down to him in cricket corruption case. When asked whether he would be able to bowl like he did in the bast, He said: Fish doesn’t forget swimming . Asif said he was absolutely fit to play any type of cricket. To a question that what lesson he did learn from the punishment, Asif said he had now recognize his friends and enemies. The former world number two Test fast bowler expressed his joy at being released and not being deported to Pakistan, vowing that he was determined to clear his name and be back on the field again. “I couldn’t believe that I was found guilty by the jury,” said the ace cricketer who vehemently denies any part in the spot-fixing that rocked the world of cricket.
Accompanied by Ravi Sukul of Balham Chambers, who is dealing with Asif’s criminal conviction appeal in the UK, and Savita Sukul of SJS Solicitors, who argued successfully against Asif’s deportation to Pakistan and is in conduct of the International Cricket council ban, Asif expressed his resolve that his legal team will look into any “legal errors” in his case and will attempt to redress the legal mistakes. Asif said he will not speak about any matter which will prejudice his upcoming appeals and would prefer his legal team to deal with such matters. “I am hopeful that I will come out of the problem that I found myself in unwittingly.” At the Southwark Crown Court former Test captain Salman Butt, 27, was jailed for two and a half years for his role as the “orchestrator” of a plot to bowl deliberate no-balls in the2010 Lord’s Test against England; Mohammad Amir, 19, who had been tipped to become one of the all-time great fast bowlers, was given six-month sentence.
Mazhar Majeed, 36, the London-based sports agent at the heart of the fixing scandal, was jailed for two years and eight months. Asif said he was able to serve half a12-month sentence for his part in the spot-fixing scam by keeping himself busy in the gym and by regularly playing football and badminton. Simple, easy going and professional, Asif continues to plead that he had nothing to do with the spot-fixing scam and he found himself caught with the fellow players only by association.
“Thanks to Almighty Allah. I am out from the prison. I am really happy, I have seen very hard time,” said the genius bowler. Asif saw his release as a landmark step as he begins a new battle to clear his name. He thanked his fans and well-wishers for standing by him in the time of trials and tribulations. “I am so happy I have fans who are still supporting me in this way, through social media. I am in touch with them. They wanted to see me on the ground playing again.”
“But despite the difficulties, I kept my fitness and I am thankful to my fans and family for supporting me during this difficult phase,” he said.
The 29-year-old was jailed by a London court in November after being found guilty of conspiring to cheat and conspiring to accept corrupt payments over deliberate no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010. Team-mate Mohammad Aamer was released in February, while former Test captain Salman Butt is still serving his 30-month term in the same prison from which Asif was released.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) separately banned the trio from playing all cricket for five years. “I was shocked when I was handed that 12-month jail term, and when they termed me guilty I was very surprised because there was no evidence against me,” said Asif. He expressed hope that his lawyer, Ravi Sukul, can overturn the ICC ban. “I am fitter than before because I was using the gym and although I didn’t get to play much cricket, I played badminton and football,” said Asif, confident he could still bowl as well as ever.
“You don’t tell a fish how to swim, so I have not forgot how to bowl.” Once considered a fast-rising talent, Asif twice failed dope tests, in 2006 and 2008, the second during the inaugural Indian Premier League season which ended in one-year ban. He was also detained in Dubai for 19 days in June 2008 for possession of a banned drug.