The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday paved the way for Mohammad Asif's comeback to the national team for the Champions Trophy later this year after fining the controversial fast bowler Rs 1 million for his involvement in a drug case in Dubai.
The PCB said it fined Asif on the recommendations of a three-member probe committee that found him guilty of bringing the country and Pakistan cricket to disrepute last year when he was detained in Dubai for possession of 0.23 grams of hashish.
Asif spent 19 days in detention in Dubai in June last year while returning from India after playing in the inaugural Indian Premier League, where he also failed a dope test.
"The fine of Rs 1 million is for his misconduct and possession of hashish in Dubai. But Asif will be clear to play for Pakistan once he completes his 12-month ban for the failed dope test," PCB chief operating officer Saleem Altaf said.
Asif was banned for 12 months by the drugs tribunal of the IPL for failing a dope test. His ban started from September although the pacer had appealed that his suspension be considered from July when the PCB had also stopped him from playing cricket.
"We will be sending his name in the provisional list of players for the Champions Trophy to the ICC as his ban ends on September 22 and the event begins from the 24th," Altaf said.
Altaf said he did not see any reason for Asif not to be considered for the Champions Trophy.
"On technical grounds his ban ends on September 22 after which he is a free man. So we will definitely want him in the playing squad," he added.
He pointed out that as far as the Dubai case was concerned the Rs one million fine was imposed as a punishment, although Dubai authorities had not pressed any criminal charges against the pacer.
The committee was headed by former Test player Wasim Bari, who is also director human resources in the board.
The committee had delayed giving recommendations to the PCB as it had asked Asif to provide evidence from Dubai confirming he could enter the Emirates state again.
Asif didn't submit the documents but his passport has a valid UAE visa stamped on it.
Asif, who has played 11 Tests and 32 One-day Internationals for Pakistan, had also failed a dope test in 2006 before the Champions Trophy in India in an out of competition tests conducted by the PCB.
However, he escaped punishment along with fellow-fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on technical grounds.
Asif was relieved to know that his name is being considered for selection in the Champions Trophy squad.
"I am delighted I will be considered for selection again but as far as the fine is concerned I will consult my lawyer about it. But the most important thing for me is to resume my career in September," Asif said.