Shoaib pleads innocence, ~~gutted~~ to miss CT

Published: Monday, October 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:''I have done nothing wrong,'' pleaded Shoaib Akhtar, who says he is 'gutted' to be missing the Champions Trophy after he flunked a dope test and was withdrawn from the Pakistan squad.

One of the two Pakistani pacers, along with Mohammad Asif, who were withdrawn from the side after testing positive for Nandrolone, Shoaib said he never resorted to any performance-enhancing drugs and revealed that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has advised him to refrain from commenting on the issue.

''I cannot say much at this time about what has happened but I just want to assure everyone that I am innocent of doing anything I shouldn't have,'' Shoaib wrote in his website column.

''The President of Pakistan has asked me not to comment in any detail at this stage and I want to respect his wishes, so I will keep my message short,'' he said.

Stressing that he never cheated anyone and played the game fair, the temperamental speedster said, All I can say is that I have not knowingly taken any performance enhancing drugs and would never cheat my team-mates or opponents in this way.

''I have always played the game fair and I give 100 per cent and do not feel that I need to take drugs to help my bowling. I am gutted to be missing the Champions Trophy and I will return to Pakistan to see what has happened and what needs to be done,'' he said.

''That's all I have to say for now,'' he wrote.

Doc bats for Akhtar: Akhtar's personal doctor said the Pakistan fast bowler was innocent of doping and likely tested positive because of medicine he took to recover from injury.

"Akhtar is definitely innocent and I can vouch for him," Tauseef Razzaq, a reputed physiotherapist and sports medicine specialist, told to mediamen on Monday after the latest scandal to rock Pakistani cricket.

Razzaq, who worked with several US basketball clubs in the 1990s, said Akhtar "doesn't know anything about medicines" and tested negative on at least two previous occasions.

"And since he recently suffered ankle and knee injuries, he must have taken some medicines which are painkillers but come under the banned substances," said the doctor, whose hiring by Akhtar was criticised by the PCB in 2004.

"Akhtar is so valuable a cricketer and is conscious of the fact, so I don't think he would take anything intentionally. Since he bowls at a venomous pace he also knew he would always be a target for a dope test," said Razzaq.

Another problem was that some painkillers and energy drinks, which could be used by players recovering from injury have banned substances.


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