Suspended Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif nearly landed in another controversy on Saturday. Asif, who arrived in India to sort out financial issues with his IPL team Delhi Daredevils, was stopped at the Delhi airport due to visa-related problems, but was later allowed to move out following intervention by the Pakistan High Commission officials, PTI reported.
Asif had flown into Mumbai from Karachi and took a connecting flight to Delhi where he was stopped by immigration authorities at the airport for having "insufficient documents". "Asif has a five-year visa issued to him which states he can travel to India as an international cricketer to play in the Indian Premier League," a source said. "But since he has gone on a private visit and not to play cricket, he was supposed to inform the Indian High Commission in Islamabad for clearance which he didn't do."
Asif was originally scheduled to reach India on Friday to meet with Delhi Daredevils officials. "He is very much in Delhi and will be meeting officials for issues related to his payment," Delhi Daredevils chief executive Amrit Mathur said. However, he said he had no idea about Asif's problems at the airport.
Asif, however, denied facing any issues at the airport. "I was very pained about the reports in the newspapers, and on television, this morning about my arrival to New Delhi. I wish to clarify that there was absolutely no problem at the Delhi airport on my arrival," he said. "I came to New Delhi via Mumbai and I was welcomed whole-heartedly there and all immigration formalities were concluded there."
Delhi bought Asif for US$650,000 on a three-year contract, making him the second-most expensive Pakistan player in the league after Shahid Afridi. His future with the franchise, however, hangs in limbo after he tested positive for a banned steroid during the first edition of the tournament in 2008. He appealed against the finding though his case was yet to be resolved by a three-man tribunal appointed by the IPL. It is believed that the Daredevils have yet to pay Asif outstanding dues from last season, but that the payment may be linked to the fate of his doping case.
The Pakistan board had also suspended Asif from all cricket and not given him a central contract after he tested positive. He is scheduled to travel to India again on January 24 to attend the hearing of the IPL tribunal which was moved back to Mumbai from London. The hearing had earlier been shifted out of Mumbai following November's terror attacks in the city.