Pakistan cricket authorities have advised Muhammad Asif to help his case and not make controversial statements in the media and instead, focus on the rehabilitation program outlined for him by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The PCB has planned a nearly five-month long reintegration program for Asif and his teammates Salman Butt and Muhammad Amir who were banned for five-years for spot fixing and whose bans expired on September 2.
According to the program, all three players will work with PCB’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department to prepare lectures to be delivered to other players in different regions of Pakistan from September 2 to October 30.
From September 2 onwards, the trio were allowed to start practicing regularly at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore — except when Pakistan national players practice to avoid any untoward incident.
Additionally, the three were directed to pay regular visits to Edhi homes, orphanages and places like Army Public School, Peshawar in order to publicly contribute towards social responsibility obligations from September 5 to December 31.
However, while Butt, who was Pakistan’s captain when the spot-fixing scandal took place in England in 2010, and Amir have constrained their interactions with the media and have repeatedly apologised for their behaviour, Asif appears to be on a different wavelength.
“There is concern in the board that Asif has not learnt anything from this embarrassing episode and one does not see visible repentance in him or his statements,” said a reliable source in the board, as quoted by Press Trust of India.
“There has been advise issued to Asif to cool it down and not try to be offensive in his statements even against those former players who don’t want the trio to be considered for national selection again.
“He has got to understand what he did was very damaging to Pakistan cricket and there will be reactions to his comeback even though he has served his ban,” said the official source.
Asif took a hard shot at his critics in a recent interview given to a cricket website where he said the Pakistan cricket team belongs to the nation and any player not wanting to play alongside him or the two others belonging to the “banned trio” should worry more about their own selection in the team.
“This is not a local village team where some players don’t want others to play. If one or two players don’t want to play alongside us, then who knows, those players may not be in the team themselves in the future,” said Asif
“Players come and go,” he said insisting that nobody’s selection was guaranteed.
Asif said there are a couple of players who are speaking out the trio and that he didn’t have a problem with those players expressing their opinions, and neither was he worried about their criticisms.
“I have no problems at all with that as it is their opinion. They (former players) aren’t selectors and I don’t think they will influence the selectors as what matters is our performance on the field,” he said.
Asif apparently has also rubbed the PCB the wrong way by indicating to them through some channels that they should let him know whether they have any plans for him in future and if not they should allow him to try his luck in the foreign leagues.
This story originally appeared on NDTV.