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Asif has fifty per cent chance of avoiding any punishment: PCB

Lahore, Jun 6 (UNI) There is finally some good news for disgraced Pakistan pace spearhead Mohammad Asif with his urine sample found to be negative by the UAE authorities who have detained him at the Dubai airport for possessing an unidentified 'illegal substance'.

However, Asif will have to remain in detention at least till Sunday because of weekly holidays in the UAE.

The worse news for the fast bowler is that senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials give him just 50 per cent chance of escaping from the drug scandal without any punishment from the authorities.

''After having taken a thorough look at his (Asif's) situation, I believe he has a 50-50 chance of avoiding any punishment,'' the official, who requested anonymity, told 'The News' yesterday.

The 25-year-old pacer was caught with an illegal substance in his wallet on Sunday at the Dubai airport and was detained by the local authorities.

Asif was returning to Pakistan from Mumbai after having appeared in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The PCB quickly threw its weight behind the Shiekhupura-born bowler, who has a history of drug-related controversies.

The Board rushed one of its senior officials to Dubai and also hired a local lawyer to fight Asif's case.

In the meantime, other top PCB officials have been 'working behind the scenes' to get Asif off the hook by trying to use their connections in the influential circles in the UAE.

But in spite of all efforts, the Board official's admission that a jail-term for Asif remains a possibility comes as a big jolt for the pacer, regarded as among the best in the world.

However, the official said the PCB will continue trying its best to get Asif back home. ''Our biggest target is to get the player released and bring him back home on the first available flight,'' he said.

Asif appeared before a Dubai prosecutor yesterday on charges of possessing an illegal substance. He recorded a statement in which he said the drug found in his possession was a medicine given to him by a hakim in Pakistan, said the official.

No charges have yet been laid against him but the case was deferred till Sunday as today and tomorrow are holidays in Dubai.

The official said that lab tests have proved that the illegal substance recovered from Asif's possession was in fact some kind of a banned drug and not salajeet as claimed by the player. But the official was unwilling to reveal any further details about the drug.

''We are still unaware as to exactly which drug has been recovered from him,'' said the official.


Story first published: Friday, June 6, 2008, 12:35 [IST]
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