It seems problems for Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar and his junior team mate Mohammad Asif, who were yesterday found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs, have just begun. An eyewitness from last month’s eventful tour of England disclosed that the duo smoked cannabis after winning one of the ODIs.
The eyewitness from the US was present in the same hotel where the Pakistan team was staying, and had come all the way to meet the Pakistani players that day.
According to him, both Shoaib and Asif used the ‘stuff’ after Pakistan had won the third ODI at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on September 5, almost two weeks after the infamous Oval fiasco. After the day/night fixture, Shoaib smoked a cannabis-filled cigarette on the lawn of the team hotel along with Pakistan bowling coach, Waqar Younis, the Dawn quoted the unidentified eye-witness as saying.
He further said that Asif practised something similar in the privacy of his room on the hotel’s first floor. The eyewitness saw Asif pull out some of the tobacco from his cigarette to stuff it with the banned substance.
He then lit up his cigarette in presence of Azhar Mota, an England-based recruiting agent who had come to strike a deal with Asif for a county contract.
Asif was then seen by the eyewitness smoking away merrily, and asking Azhar Mota to fetch him a lucrative contract. "Azhar bhai, I am interested in a contract worth £100,000 because only then I would be in a position to give you £10,000 (as commission) if the deal is successful," Asif was quoted as saying.
The eye-witness also claimed that he saw former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood sitting in Mohammad Yousuf’s room where Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were busy playing cards.