Karachi:Pakistan's disgraced pace bowler Muhammad Asif on Sunday left for South Africa, via Qatar, to join the national cricket team for the Champions Trophy commencing in the rainbow nation from Tuesday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board earlier decided to sent Asif to Johannesburg via London due to the ambiguity about whether the cricketer can travel with rest of the team via Dubai, where he spent 19 days in detention after some contraband substances were found in his possession last year.
The Pakistan team left for South Africa via Dubai on September 17 and Asif will now join them.
"He has flown out today and hopefully he will be with the team tomorrow. His 12-month ban ends on Tuesday after which he officially becomes a part of the team and can train and play for them," a PCB official said.
However, coach Intikhab Alam has said that Asif is not sure to play in first one or two matches in the eight-nation event and a final decision on this would only be taken after his arrival.
The PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt made it clear today that any decision on whether Asif can play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai next month in the one-day series against New Zealand would only be taken after getting clarification from the Dubai authorities.
"Frankly speaking his playing in the two Emirate states depends on whether the Dubai authorities have any problem with him over his case last year. We have asked them for a clarification as Asif couldn't clear his position to us regarding the terms of his deportation from Dubai last year," Butt said.
Butt, however, made it clear that there would be no problem for Asif to play in the Champions Trophy.
"His ban ends on the 22nd and he has been really working hard to regain his best form and fitness for his comeback after such a long break. I think, he can make a successful comeback as he is a quality bowler," Butt said.