The decision on the doping case is finally in and Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif have been hit by bans after testing positive for nadrolone. Shoaib is out for 2 years and Asif for one.
According to CricInfo:
Both men tested positive in the build-up to the Champions Trophy, and were pulled out of Pakistan’s squad on October 16, the day before their opening game. The ban could effectively end Shoaib’s career, because he will be 33 by the time the ban is lifted. The testing had been conducted internally by the PCB, and a three-man tribunal comprising barrister Shahid Hamid, the former captain Intikhab Alam and Waqar Ahmed, a medical expert, had conducted an inquiry.
Both men had been recovering from injuries in the weeks and months building up to their positive tests, with Shoaib suffering from knee and ankle problems and Asif fighting back from a shoulder problem that forced him to miss much of Pakistan’s tour of England last summer. Shoaib initially denied any misconduct, saying: “I have not knowingly taken any performance enhancing drugs and would never cheat my team-mates or opponents in this way.” But earlier this week, both men declined the offer of a retest on their B samples, which implied that they did not question the results. Both men are, however, entitled to appeal against their ban.
“We gave a full chance to both the pacemen to fight their cases and after a thorough inquiry we feel they failed to prove their innocence,” said Hamid, the chairman of the panel. “The process of doping was investigated carefully. We made sure the tests were conducted properly, samples reached the laboratory in Malaysia safely and there was no error in testing in the laboratory. “Both the players were satisfied and accepted the tests and gave their point of view but after a thorough inquiry and bound by the Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) we reached the decision.”
Hamid explained why the two had received different sentences. “Akhtar contested the case saying that he has been on a high-protein diet which contained beef, chicken meat and other dietary supplements and he also said he took some herbal medicines from a Hakim (herbal expert) but he couldn’t prove them.” Under the ICC’s doping rules, a two-year ban is the minimum penalty for a first offence. However, the PCB said all along it will take its own decisions, since the tests were conducted internally. As a younger member of the squad, Asif, 24 next month, has been let off comparatively lightly, and can be expected to fight again for his place next year. For Shoaib, however, the final curtain could be falling on an eventful and controversial career. Both players do, however, have the right to appeal and, if they do, a separate tribunal will be conducted.
For Pakistan cricket as a whole, the verdict marks the end of an unpalatable three-month period, which began with the ball-tampering controversy at The Oval, which led to the first forfeiture in Test history and a four-ODI suspension for their captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq. Younis Khan, Inzamam’s stand-in, then resigned on the eve of the Champions Trophy, claiming he did not wish to be a “dummy” captain, only to be reinstated following the resignation of the PCB’s exasperated chairman, Shahrayar Khan.