PCB haven't done enough to save us, says Asif

Mohammad Asif (c) admitted that he had made some mistakes but felt the five year ban was too heavy a price to pay AFP

Karachi: Sep 2, 2011

Pakistan’s banned pacer Mohammad Asif believes the PCB did not do enough to save him and two other banned players — Salman Butt and Muhammad Aamir — from the punishment handed down to them for spot-fixing by the ICC’s anti-corruption tribunal.

“I am not blaming the PCB for what happened but certainly they and even the government could have done more to save us from such a long ban,” Asif said on ‘Geo TV’.

“If the Board wanted, they could have stepped in when the spot fixing scandal broke out and handled things themselves.

“They should have sent us home immediately and then tried us themselves instead of allowing the ICC to take charge,” Asif said.

He also felt that the Pakistan government did not play a pro-active in dealing with the whole issue.

“I know there are regulations and other things that could have been used by the government to fly us back to Pakistan and then have us face the music at home instead of being left at the mercy of the ICC tribunal,” he said.

Throughout the show, Asif, 28, who took 106 wickets in 23 Tests, kept hinting he hsould not have been punished.

The three Pakistani players were banned for a minimum of five years by the ICC tribunal last February on charges of spot-fixing during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s last year.

The ICC suspended the trio few days after the defunct ‘News of the World’ tabloid broke the story about the trio being involved with their Pakistani agent Mazhar Majeed in fixing issues during the series.

Asif admitted that he had made some mistakes but felt the five year ban was too heavy a price to pay.

“I can’t say more on this because I have appealed against the ban and also in October I am hopeful that the case will be dismissed and I can get back to playing cricket,” he said.

Asif and his two other teammates are due to appear again in a London magistrate court to face charges of corruption and cheating brought against them by the crown prosecutor’s office in the United Kingdom as a fall out of the spot fixing scandal.

Asif said he had still not given up hope of playing for Pakistan again.

“I don’t know but the situation can change very quickly and I think October will be important to my case. But I am carrying on training and even practicing because I know the comeback chance to international cricket could come,” he said.

Asked about the various controversies that have dogged him including the 19-day detention at the Dubai airport for possession of a banned substance, Asif reiterated he had not taken any drugs.

“I had a herbal medicine with me that contained percentage of opium and that got me into trouble but now I can go to Dubai as there is no bar on me from travelling there,” he said.

The lanky pace bowler conceded that not being able to play any cricket was a big punishment for him.

“Because my life revolves around cricket and not being able to play the game is very punishing indeed,” he said. (PTI)