The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will seek legal opinion before initiating an inquiry into fast bowler Mohammad Asif's detention in Dubai last year, as signs emerge that the ICC might be taking an interest in the case.
"We have asked our legal advisers to look into the report of the Dubai authorities and only then could we further investigate the matter," PCB's chief operating officer Salim Altaf told AP. Asif was detained at Dubai airport for 19 days in June last year on his way back to Pakistan from the IPL. Dubai authorities found 0.24 grams of opium in his wallet but decided, despite deporting him, the case was not worth pursuing. Asif admitted during an interrogation that he had used the substance earlier in 2008.
It has now emerged that the ICC is taking an interest in the case as well, having recently announced a revamped and stringent anti-doping policy. Altaf said the board had received a copy of the Dubai authorities' investigations - leaked to the public earlier this week from the ICC. "Yes, the ICC has inquired about Asif's incident and have sent us the copy of the Dubai investigation. We will provide them with more information once we receive legal advice from our lawyers."
Earlier this week, Pakistani senators had also demanded that the board conducts a probe into Asif's detention; the previous administration, under whom the incident took place, claims it carried out an internal inquiry and produced a report, which has not yet seen the light of day.
The board has now accepted the need for an inquiry, where previously they had been apparently unwilling to act on the case, preferring instead to await the results of Asif's other doping case with the IPL. "We will do whatever is necessary in this case, but we have to wait for advice from our legal experts," Altaf said.
Asif was due to leave for Delhi on Thursday to pursue money he claims he is owed by the Delhi Daredevils team in the IPL. He is currently suspended by the board, after he tested positive in the IPL last year. He will appear before the IPL drug tribunal on January 24 in Mumbai.