ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib, Asif asked to play domestic games


Pakistan’s new ball duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will not be rushed back in the national team after being cleared of doping bans on Tuesday, the country’s cricket chief said.

Dr Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, said that Shoaib and Asif will have to go through a few domestic games before regaining their places in the Pakistan squad.

“It is great news for us that the players have been cleared by an independent committee,” he said. “But we will not rush them in the Pakistan team. They haven’t played any competitive cricket for more than two months and we will have to ease them in the side.”

Shoaib and Asif last played for Pakistan in the fifth one-day against England in Birmingham in September before an inquiry tribunal banned them over positive dope tests.

They missed the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy in India in Oct-Nov and also a three-Test series against the West Indies which concluded in Karachi on December 1.

The duo was overlooked by the national selectors for the second ODI against the West Indies to be played in Faisalabad on December 7. “The vast record of the proceedings before the inquiry tribunal and this committee establishes that Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were never advised against taking supplements nor were they even provided with any international or local publications warning them against the use of supplements,” said the statement issued by Justice Ebrahim.

“Hence, this committee by a majority of 2 to 1 is of considered view that Shoaib and Asif have successfully established that they held an honest and reasonable belief that the supplements ingested by them did not contain any prohibited substances. Accordingly, the appellants have met the test of ëexceptional circumstances’ as laid down under the PCB anti-doping regulations,” he added.

Both Shoaib and Asif had accepted the use of protein supplements throughout the course of investigations and it was this one point that went in their favour in a big way. And the role played by British sports lawyer Mark Gay was also significant in shaping the final verdict.

Gay, representing PCB in the case, told the committee that the issue “of contamination of nutritional supplements is so significant and widespread that international sports bodies strongly warn against the use of supplements by athletes”.

The case of British tennis star Greg Rusedski was also quoted by the committee’s final statement who tested positive for nandrolone after using supplements given by his trainers but was later cleared.

During its investigations, the committee found out that the two players were never warned by the PCB about the hazards of nutritional supplements.

Shoaib had told the anti-doping tribunal that he regularly took several nutritional supplements including Blaze Xtreme, Nitron 5, Size On, T-Bomb II, Promax 50 and Viper. Asif accepted using Promax 50 but revealed that he stopped its use on the advise of Pakistan team’s physiotherapist Darryn Lifson.

The committee concluded that the PCB and Pakistan team officials passed on the buck when asked about the issue of creating doping awareness among the players.
Source:The News

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