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ICC quizzes Pakistan about Asif case

The International Cricket Council has asked officials in Pakistan to explain what action it plans to take against troubled fast bowler Mohammad Asif after his drugs arrest, an official said Thursday.

The 26-year-old paceman was detained in June for nearly three weeks for possession of opium as he was returning to Pakistan after playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dubai police deported him without charge, saying the quantity of illegal drugs found was insufficient, but he was barred from the United Arab Emirates for life. A group of Pakistani lawmakers have recommended that Asif be banned for life over the Dubai drugs case, the latest in a series of troubles for the cricketer.

"We have received an email from ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat accompanied by the Dubai detention report," the Pakistan Cricket Board's chief operating officer Salim Altaf told AFP. "This is the first time we have seen this report and our lawyer is looking into it and soon we will form a committee to take action on it," he said.

Altaf said the PCB would follow the normal course taken for a discipline violation after receiving the ICC's query, explaining that the process had been delayed due to a change in leadership at the PCB.

Asif is also facing a possible two-year ban after failing a drugs screening test during the inaugural IPL season last year. He was due to appear before the IPL doping tribunal on January 24.

Altaf, himself a former paceman for Pakistan's national team, said the PCB would not rush to conclusions over what he termed a "sensitive case".

"We are talking about a player's career," he said.

KARACHI, Thursday, AFP

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