ICL: Indian Cricket League


Dope tests: Shoaib, Asif allowed extra time

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Pakistan are paying a hefty amount to a Malaysian laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to urgently carry our dope tests of their World Cup-bound players for the benefit of dope-tainted pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

The laboratory, getting extra charges to fast forward the procedure, has agreed to carry out the dope tests and send back the results within a short span of 48 hours.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told this correspondent on Sunday that the reason behind paying more than the standard fee for the dope tests is to allow maximum possible time to Shoaib and Asif to flush out traces of nandrolone in their bloodstream.

The official refrained from disclosing the combined fee for the 20 odd players to be tested by the PCB ahead of next month’s World Cup in the West Indies but said that “it is quite substantial”.

“I believe the two players would get one more week before their urine samples are collected and sent to Malaysia for the dope tests,” said the official who requested anonymity. “It would allow them some extra time which may help them pass the test,” he added.

The official said that the pace duo could be tested by February 26, ten days after the PCB took samples from the majority of their players in Lahore.

The Board has carried out dope tests of the entire pool of players apart from Shoaib, Asif and all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who is currently abroad to play a charity match. Afridi is expected to be tested within the next couple of days.

The first phase of the exercise took place in Lahore on Friday followed by more tests in Karachi on Saturday. On Sunday, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq gave his urine sample in Lahore.

Shoaib and Asif, regarded as important members of Pakistan’s 15-man World Cup squad, tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone last October and there are fears that they might fail the dope test again.

Experts say that an athlete can carry traces of nandrolone for up to six month in his system since the last use of the drug.

The PCB decided to carry out dope tests of all the members of their World Cup squad following the drug scandal involving Shoaib and Asif ahead of last fall’s Champions Trophy in India. The Board wanted to avoid any embarrassment during the World Cup where the International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to carry out target testing.

Some experts have warned that if Shoaib and Asif test positive during the World Cup they might face a life ban for a second drug offence.

The two bowlers are also facing fitness problems ahead of the World Cup where Pakistan would begin their title campaign with the tournament’s opening game against the West Indies on March 13.

Shoaib is nursing a knee injury while Asif is said to be suffering from a tennis elbow.

Both the players separately went to England recently, a development that ignited rumours that they have been sent there by the PCB to consult renowned sports lawyer Mark Gay. The London-based Gay has worked for the PCB following The Oval Test fiasco and last October’s doping scandal and played a major role in getting Shoaib and Asif acquitted of doping charges. Gay has a lot of experience working with dope-tainted sportsmen.

However, the PCB official rejected the rumours saying that the players went to England purely to seek medical advice on their injuries. “If Mark Gay’s services would be needed then it would be the PCB which would consult him on this case just like it was done in the past,” said the official.
Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 and is filed under General.

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