Shoaib~~s ban: Ponting says he is not shocked

Published: Thursday, November 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mohali:The ban on Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar, along with his team mate Mohammad Asif, may have come as a huge blow for the world of cricket but Australia captain Ricky Ponting says he is not shocked and in fact expected something like this.

Talking to reporters after beating New Zealand in the Champions Trophy semifinal here last night, the Aussie said, ''I'm not shocked, in fact I expected something like this.'' His Kiwi counterpart Stephen Fleming, however, was cautious with his words but felt it was '' an interesting twist to an interesting tale.'' ''I can't make any comment on the issue for I need to know more about it. But of course it's an interesting twist to an interesting tale,'' Fleming added.

The three-member anti-doping tribunal set up by the Pakistan Cricket Board yesterday banned Shoaib for two years and Asif for a year after the duo tested positive for performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone. Both the bowlers will miss next year's World Cup.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has welcomed the PCB tribunal's judgement and said the punishments to Shoaib and Asif would act as a deterrent to youngsters.

''I think this will send out a strong signal to the youngsters that they just cannot take to drugs to remain fit or recuperate from injuries,'' Imran told NDTV.

''The ban on Shoaib and Asif will also make it clear that Pakistan was serious about preventing drug offences by its players,'' he added.


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