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Mohammad Asif: Not taken CAS decision lightly; will continue to fight to clear my name

Mohammad Asif: Not taken CAS decision lightly; will continue to fight to clear my name

Mohammad Asif, who will be 32 years old when the five-year ban ends, refused to accept that this was now the end of his cricket career © Getty Images

By Saj Sadiq

Mohammad Asif’s latest attempt to revive his cricket career was rejected last Wednesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. Asif wanted the International Cricket Council (ICC) ruling that imposed a seven-year ban, two years of which are suspended on him to be overturned, but the CAS did not find any evidence to support the pace bowler’s claim. The appeal panel “was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Asif was a party to the spot-fixing conspiracy.”

A statement from the CAS said: “The CAS Panel found that there was no evidence advanced by Mr Asif which clearly exculpated him and that his submissions did not break the chain of circumstantial evidence or in any way undermine the reasoning contained in the ICC’s Tribunal’s decision.”

Reacting to the CAS’s decision, Asif told PakPassion.net: “I’m very disappointed and upset by the decision of the CAS. I was very hopeful and optimistic that the decision from the CAS would be in my favour and I’m very disheartened by the CAS upholding the ban given to me by the ICC. It’s difficult to accept this decision and obviously I’m feeling very low. Cricket has always been a major part of my life and without cricket I’m really struggling.”

Asif continued, “I really thought that I would be hearing some good news from the CAS and it came as a big surprise to me when their decision went against me. I’m in ongoing discussions with my lawyers and we are looking at what our next step will be. I will not take this decision by the CAS lightly and will continue to fight to clear my name.”

Asif, who will be 32 years old when the five-year ban ends, also refused to accept that this was now the end of his cricket career. He said: “This is not the end of the road for me as far as cricket goes. The PCB Chairman has made some favourable comments recently about my returning to domestic cricket, which is a huge motivation for me. I know that I can play domestic cricket and international cricket again in future, but the first priority is for me to pursue the next legal channel available and to challenge the unfair ban imposed on me.”

Asif’s London-based lawyer Ravi Sukul expressed his dismay to PakPassion.net at the CAS decision in rejecting his client’s appeal and vowed to continue the fight to clear Asif’s name. “The judgment of the CAS Panel has disturbed me,” stated Sukul. He continued, “the implications of that judgment have equally disturbed me. Having presented undisputed facts to the CAS I was quite optimistic that Asif’s lack of deliberate participation in the spot-fixing scam would have been apparent to the Panel.”

Sukul added, “We presented multiple grounds of appeal to the CAS. One of those grounds comprised 18 elements of cogent circumstantial evidence probative of the fact that Asif did not bowl the no-ball intentionally. One of the most eminent and respected cricket statisticians in the land alluded to the fact that the no-ball Asif bowled was consistent with no-balls usually bowled by fast bowlers in the course of the game. We shall continue our quest to clear Asif’s name. The CAS has wrongly, and for reasons unknown to me, applied the same rationale to Asif, as they did to Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer, when it must have been evidentially obvious that he is in a completely different forensic category from his two former team mates, one of whom pleaded guilty, and the other did not appeal against his conviction. I must carefully analyse the CAS judgment and formulate an appeal to the Swiss Federal Court. Instincts support the feeling that this is an example of an injustice based more upon policy rather than evidence. The race is not over.”

(Saj Sadiq is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net, from where the above article has been reproduced. He can be followed on Twitter at @Saj_PakPassion)

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