The Telegraph
 
 
ARCHIVES
Since 1st March, 1999
 
THE TELEGRAPH
 
 
Email This Page
Dodgy Shoaib Akhtar gets 2 years
- Lighter punishment for Village boy Mohammed Asif as he took nandrolone out of ignorance

Calcutta: Coach Bob Woolmer wasn’t in the best of moods after Pakistan got knocked out of the Champions Trophy last week

That latest defeat (at the hands of South Africa) hadn’t even sunk in when he was asked whether the team was missing Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif, who’d been suspended and were at the centre of a nandrolone-specific doping scandal.

“We’ve got to get used to life without them… It’s as simple as that,” Woolmer responded, his tone betraying irritation.

On Wednesday night it got confirmed (as of now) that the spearheads wouldn’t be available for what is an eternity in the life of a cricket team — Shoaib for two years, Asif one.

That followed the judgement of the three-member tribunal, constituted by the PCB, to probe the biggest drugs scandal to hit cricket.

[Agencies have quoted an unnamed PCB official as saying Shoaib and Asif can appeal within seven days.]

While both are out of sport’s biggest tournament, the World Cup — to be held in March-April 2007, there’s a huge question mark over Shoaib ever again playing.

Asif, though, is young (23) and should be able to pick up the pieces.

The tribunal (headed by legal eagle Shahid Hamid) reached its decision after many hours of deliberations in Lahore. The tainted duo got ample opportunity to defend themselves.

Hamid’s colleagues were former captain and coach Intikhab Alam and sports medicine expert Dr Waqar Ahmad.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the tribunal went soft on Asif (who made the point about having been brought up in a village) as he’d taken the banned nandrolone “out of ignorance.”

One of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Asif, who was recovering from an injury, took Promax-50 (a nutritional supplement) during the recent tour of England… That contained nandrolone…

“He stopped taking it when the physio (Darryn Lifson) learnt about it… By then, however, the damage had been done… It’s a tragedy, but Asif took the substance without realising the consequences…”

Shoaib (described as “sexually active” in his written submission) has been nailed for being vague and trying to blame the team’s support staff for his plight.

Among the quickest ever in the business, Shoaib informed the tribunal that he’d been taking a “high protein diet and protein supplements” since 1999. Also, that he’d been on “isotonic solutions and herbal medicines” since 2002.

Significantly, Shoaib’s claim that the excessive nandrolone was produced

endogenously” wasn’t upheld. Moreover, he couldn’t specify the vitamins he’d been consuming. Nor was he able to list the herbal medicines.

Shoaib is understood to have contended that “friends” gave the latter.

Intriguingly, he claimed to have signed his last contract with the PCB (which included an anti-doping clause) without reading it!

Obviously, Shoaib was being dodgy and the tribunal took him apart. Perhaps, it’s worth noting that he was the last to give his urine sample for testing, on October 2.

In its report, the tribunal stated: “Shoaib has been unable to establish that he did not know or suspect and could not reasonably have known or suspected that he had been using prohibited substances…”

Shoaib, by the way, didn’t give the tribunal a single sample of any nutritional supplement for tests to determine “contamination.” His doctor, Nouman Niaz, had feared that possibility.

The duo tested positive for nandrolone when the samples of 19 cricketers were sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada)-accredited lab in Malaysia’s Penang.

The tests were at the behest of the PCB, which has signed the Wada code.

The results were communicated on October 15 and made public a day later. Both Shoaib and Asif were then in Jaipur for the Champions Trophy and were recalled on the first flight.

Meanwhile, despite the stigma, Asif may not be dropped as a nominee for the International Cricket Council’s Emerging Player of the Year award.

Asif, though, will be sent a message that he won’t be welcome. The function is to be held in Mumbai on Friday.

THE JUDGEMENT

ON SHOAIB AKHTAR
(Banned for 2 years)
“i) He is banned from selection to represent Pakistan in international competition;
ii) He is banned from competing in any events and competitions conducted under the jurisdiction or the auspices of the PCB or any unit;
iii) He is ineligible to receive direct or indirect funding or assistance from the PCB or any affiliated units;
iv) He is banned from holding (or continuing to hold) any position within the PCB — including as an officer or an employee;
v) He shall remain on POA register of athletes for the purpose of out-of-competition testing.”

ON MOHAMMED ASIF
(Banned for 1 year)
“i) He is banned from selection to represent Pakistan in international competition;
ii) He is banned from competing in any events and competitions conducted under the jurisdiction or the auspices of the PCB or any unit;
iii) He is ineligible to receive direct or indirect funding or assistance from the PCB or any affiliated units;
iv) He is banned from holding (or continuing to hold) any position within the PCB — including as an officer or an employee;
v) He shall remain on POA register of athletes for the purpose of out-of-competition testing.”
l Both Shoaib and Asif have been informed and advised of their rights of appeal and review.

Top
Email This Page