Asif~~s poor English saves him from longer ban!

Published: Thursday, November 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:While the PCB anti-doping commission took a strict stance against Shoaib Akhtar and slapped the enigmatic pacer a two-year ban, the three-member tribunal went soft on Mohammad Asif and the youngster has to thank his poor command over English for that.

The commission, in its much-anticipated report, observed that it's not clear whether Asif, who was banned for one year, had been present at any lecture or session with regard to the Anti Doping Regulations or list of prohibited substances and there are also doubts if he was at all 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.

''We have ourselves noticed during the hearings that Mohammad Asif's command of English is limited and we are clear that he could not possibly have understood the WADA publications without someone helping him to understand their contents. No such guidance or counselling was provided. He has stated before us that he is unable to explain why his urine sample has tested positive for the nandrolone metabolite,'' the commission observed.

''He was amongst those who gave his sample on the very first date of sample taking...and did not try and delay the sample taking,'' they said.

Elsewhere, the commission sympathises with Asif and blamed the fiasco mostly on his ignorance and humble background.

''When he was in UK in June 2006 along with the Pakistan Team he was given an injection for his elbow injury which did not work.

Thereafter, he received 2 more injections during his stay there.

After his return, he had been using nutritional supplements viz Promax-50. This was in the knowledge of the Team Physiotherapist Mr. Darryn Lifson who was also present when he was given the 3 injections in UK.

''He lived in a village and was unaware of the effects of the injections and nutritional supplements that he had taken,'' the trio argued.

The same commission, however, sounded harsh While handing out the ban order on Shoaib Akhtar, rubbishing the pacer's version that he could not suspect that he had been using prohibited substances.

The commission quoted from Shoaib's written submission before the three-member body to point out to his eventful past, plagued by injury and controversy.

''Occasional smoker and a past history of infrequent alcohol consumption, with a penchant for western lifestyle, sexually active Shoaib has an unremarkable medical history. There is history of bronchial asthma (atopy). However his surgical/trauma history is quite remarkable,'' it read.

The commission also pointed out that Shoaib's personal physician Dr. Touseef Razzaq was allowed to go with him on foreign tours and before consuming anything, they felt, ''He could and should have consulted his doctors. In fact, we find it difficult to believe that he did not do so.

''In the totality of the circumstances, we are not convinced that there was no fault or negligence on the part of Shoaib Akhtar or even no significant fault or negligence,'' they said.

They also rubbished Shoaib's claim that high protein intake over the years haD caused endogenous production of 19-Norandrosterone in his system well above the prescribed limit.

''The medical experts who have appeared before us have stated categorically that levels of this metabolite as high as the level found in Shoaib Akhtar's urine sample viz 14.06 ng/ml are not possible to be produced endogenously...there is a urine test known as GC-C-IRMS which can determine whether or not the given levels of the metabolite have been produced endogenously or otherwise. We offered this test to Shoaib Akhtar but he declined to take the same,'' they said.

Meanwhile, the ICC may have patted PCB for its strict handling of the doping fiasco but the anti-doping commission rapped the cricket board for just not doing enough to sensitise its cricketers on the menace.

Alleging that the PCB officials appearing before the tribunal washed their hands off the episode, the three-member commission said, ''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.

''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,'' they said.

''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,'' the commission, comprising Shahid Hamid, Intikhab Alam and Dr Waqar Ahmed said.


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