Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 10:52 UK

Asif held for 'illegal substance'

Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Asif is one of Pakistan's most promising fast bowlers

Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif has been detained at Dubai airport on suspicion of carrying illegal drugs.

Senior Pakistan Cricket Board official Nadeem Akram said that Asif was held on Monday as he travelled to Pakistan.

He said a substance recovered from Asif had been sent for tests and a lawyer was trying to secure his release. No charges have been filed against him.

Asif was apparently returning home from India, where he played in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament.

He played for the Delhi Daredevils in the competition.

'Not arrested'

Mr Akram has travelled to Dubai to liaise with the Pakistani embassy there and local authorities.

He said an "illegal substance" had been found in Asif's wallet, but did not identify what it was.

"He has been detained by authorities at Dubai airport for the last 36 hours," Mr Akram told Reuters news agency.

"The substance recovered from him has been sent for tests. He is detained not arrested."

Mr Akram told Pakistani TV channels that the bowler had been carrying herbal medicine he had been given for an elbow injury.

The chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Shafqat Nagmi, told reporters the "entire matter was either a mistake or an innocent issue".

"Asif is in good spirits. He is looking forward to returning home soon," he said.

Asif was suspended for a year in 2006 after testing positive for nandrolone, a banned steroid.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board lifted the ban after he claimed that he had not knowingly taken the drug.

Asif is a member of the Pakistani squad to play a triangular series in Bangladesh beginning Sunday against India and the hosts.

The 25-year-old player is considered one of the most promising fast bowlers in Pakistan.

He has claimed 51 wickets in 11 Test matches and 36 wickets in 31 one-day international matches.

Dubai, in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), has a zero-tolerance drugs policy.

Highly sensitive equipment used by customs authorities there has led to a rise in the number of people being detained on drugs charges.

The list of banned substances in the UAE includes many products which are available over-the-counter and off-the-shelf in other countries.

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