Pakistan bowlers banned

Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar © Getty Images

Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif have been banned for two and one years respectively for failing a drugs test.

The pair were found to have had nandrolone in their system and the punishments were handed out by a three-man tribunal appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The inquiry was launched after the pair were sent home from the Champions Trophy in India, although the tests were conducted under instructions from the PCB in September, before the tournament started.

Tribunal chief Shahid Hamid told a news conference at the PCB’s headquarters in Lahore: “We have banned Shoaib Akhtar from playing international and domestic cricket for two years, and Mohammed Asif has been banned for one year for playing international or domestic cricket.

“We were helpless and our hands were tied."

The bans will run from October 15, 2006, the date Shoaib and Asif were suspended by the PCB following news of the positive drugs tests, although both have the right to appeal.

The inquiry criticised Shoaib for not seeking advice from his own doctor, Touseef Razzaq, about the legality of substances being used, and for failing to provide samples for the board to test.

“He could and should have consulted his doctors,” an inquiry statement read. “We are not convinced that there was no fault or negligence on the part of Shoaib Akhtar.

“We hold that he has committed a doping offence as defined in clause 4.1 of the PCB anti-doping regulations.

Mohammad Asif

Mohammad Asif has been hit with a one-year ban from the game © Getty Images

“There are no mitigating circumstances which would justify the imposition of a sanction less than the minimum prescribed, namely a ban of two years.”

Although Asif, like Shoaib, offered no explanation for his positive test, the inquiry reasoned that there were mitigating circumstances.

“The case of Mohammad Asif is on a somewhat different footing with regard to the level of his responsibility,” the statement continued.

A lack of guidance from the PCB and Asif’s limited grasp of English - preventing him from fully understanding the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines on banned substances - saw him handed a lesser ban.

“There is some doubt whether he was even handed over the WADA 2006 list of prohibited substances and WADA Athlete Guide prior to the departure of the team for the England tour in August 2006.

Asif admitted to using Promax, a protein-boosting supplement, but stopped on the instructions of the Pakistan physician, Darryn Lifson.

The PCB also came in for criticism from the tribunal, presided over by Hamid, Intikhab Alam and Dr Waqar Ahmed.

"We are not entirely satisfied with the manner in which PCB has advised and cautioned its players with regard to prohibited substances, the adverse effects of their use and the anti-doping regulations," the inquiry revealed.

"We have found much 'passing of the buck' between the various PCB officials who have appeared before us.

"We are firmly of the view that PCB needs to have a qualified and experienced sports doctor whenever the team is on tour abroad.

"We are also of the view that periodic guidance should be provided to the players about their diet, nutritional supplements, prohibited substances and the anti-doping regulations and there should be clear cut responsibility as to who is to perform these various tasks and when."

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