Suspended Pakistani pacer Mohammad Asif’s personal visit to Delhi turned out to be highly controversial amid reports that he faced immigration problems, a fact which the bowler on Sunday vehemently denied.
Ever since landing in Delhi, Asif had problems with airport authorities for carrying insufficient travel documents but the dope-tainted paceman came out with a statement through Delhi Daredevils, his team in the Indian Premier League, dismissing those reports.
“I was very pained by the reports in the newspapers and 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,” Asif claimed.
“I came to New Delhi via Mumbai and I was welcomed whole-heartedly there and all immigration formalities were concluded there… I am very happy to be in New Delhi and India once again,” said the Pakistani player.
“My visit to Delhi is like coming from one home to another. I hope to meet my team-mates like Virender Sehwag once again,” Asif said in the statement.
Despite his denial of ever being detained or arrested by Indian immigration authorities, sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed he faced problems and avoided being deported only after the intervention of the Pakistan embassy in Delhi.
“Given the current state of relations between Pakistan and India, it is understandable that no one wants this incident highlighted,” a PCB source said.
Daredevils chief executive officer Amrit Mathur said that Asif was here to discuss some financial issues with the team management.
“He is very much in Delhi and meeting officials for issues related to his payment,” Mathur said. Asif’s future with Daredevils, however, hangs in balance after the 25-year-old pacer tested positive for a banned steroid during the first edition of the Twenty20 tournament last year.
Asif appealed against the finding but the hearing in his case is still pending before a three-man IPL drug tribunal.
Ever since making his international debut, the highly talented Asif has plunged from one controversy to another which has undermined his career. He was last year detained at the Dubai international airport for carrying opium while returning home after playing in the IPL.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is already probing that case after ICC intervention.