Karachi, Sep 8: Pakistan cricket authorities have advised disgraced pace bowler Mohammad Asif to refrain from making controversial statements in the media and focus on the rehabilitation programme for him.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has unveiled a nearly five-month long reintegration program for Asif and his teammates Salman Butt and Muhammad Aamir who were banned for five-years for spot fixing and whose bans expired on 1st September.
The Board and selectors have made it clear that the trio can't play first class cricket until January next year and also need to prove and convince everyone they have learnt from their mistake and have redeemed themselves before they can be considered for national selection as well.
In its programme the PCB has stated clearly the trio need to be apologetic towards the current members of the Pakistan team and convince them they are ready for comebacks as reformed persons.
But while Butt, who was Pakistan's captain when the spot fixing scandal took place in England in 2010, and Aamir have restricted their media statements and appearances and have repeatedly apologised for their behaviour, Asif appears to be on a different wavelength.
"There is concern in the board that Asif has not learnt anything from this embarrassing episode and one does not see visible repentance in him or his statements," a reliable source in the board told PTI.
"There has been advise issued to Asif to cool it down and not try to be offensive in his statements even against those former players who don't want the trio to be considered for national selection again.
"He has got to understand what he did was very damaging to Pakistan cricket and there will be reactions to his comeback even though he has served his ban," the official source said.
Asif took a hard shot at his critics in a recent interview given to a cricket website where he said cricketers, who are opposing his return along with Butt and Aamir, may not be in the team in future.
"This is not a local village team where some players don't want others to play. If one or two players don't want to play alongside us, then who knows, they may not be in the team themselves," Asif said.
"Players come and go," he said insisting that nobody's selection was guaranteed. Asif stepped up the ante when he said that those former players, who are speaking out against him or Butt and Aamir, had a right to their opinion but they were not selectors and he didn't think they could influence the selectors as what mattered was our performances on the field.
Asif apparently has also rubbed the Pakistan cricket board the wrong way by indicating to them through some channels that they should let him know whether they have any plans for him in future and if not they should allow him to try his luck in the foreign leagues.