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Pakistan greats criticise Asif, PCB for doping scandal

Former Pakistan greats lambaste Mohammad Asif for failing another dope test, saying the paceman and cricket authorities must share the blame for another "tragedy".
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Karachi
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2008 03:55 PM IST

Former Pakistan greats on Tuesday lambasted Mohammad Asif for failing another dope test, saying the paceman and cricket authorities must share the blame for another "tragedy".

The Indian Premier League (IPL) Monday announced that Asif tested positive for a banned substance during random testing at the Twenty20 event held between April and June.

The announcement came a month after the 25-year-old was seized at Dubai airport on charges of possession of opium and less than two years after another doping scandal.

"I blame both Asif and the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board)," said former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas, dubbed the "Asian Bradman" for his batting in the 1970s.

"Asif is a hugely talented player but seems so ignorant that he kept an illegal drug in his pocket," said Abbas, referring to Asif's detention in the Gulf.

Abbas said when Asif had already tested positive in 2006 at the Champions Trophy in India the PCB should have given him counselling.

Asif, along with pace partner Shoaib Akhtar, tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in October 2006. Akhtar was banned for two years and Asif for one year but the penalties were overturned on appeal.

"The PCB should have properly educated Asif and it seems that a good talent is spoiled now. I see a dark future for Asif who himself was not serious about his game," Abbas said.

Another former captain, Ramiz Raja, said the doping scandal has put Pakistan in a bad light.

"It is a very unfortunate situation and Pakistan cricket is in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Asif should not have been that careless and the PCB should have nipped the evil in the bud when it happened in 2006," said Raja.

"The 2006 doping case was so politicised that the PCB could not tackle it properly and we now have to digest another tragedy," added Raja, now a television commentator.

He said Asif was a spoiled talent.

"I thought Asif was repairable and had his first offense, and the Dubai indiscipline, been tackled with an iron hand this latest episode would not have happened."

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