Shoaib urges educating players about doping

Published: Monday, December 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar has stressed the need for educating cricketers about performance-enhancing drugs to save them from getting into trouble.

"Many people have little education about doping so I hope the modern day cricketer is given more education to avoid situations like happened to us," Akhtar told reporters on Sunday.

The 31-year-old paceman was banned for two years after testing positive for nandrolone last month. His new-ball partner Mohammad Asif was banned for one year on the same offence.

However, both won appeals after their bans were overturned by a three-member panel, headed by retired judge Fakhruddin Ibrahim, earlier this month.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Friday said it would challenge the lifting of the ban in the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) in Switzerland.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said the matter was closed and Akhtar and Asif were free to play.

Akhtar said a lack of knowledge caused his positive test.

"We didn't know anything about these doping issues and there are supplements which can be contaminated and these are legalised and we hope that the WADA ban these supplements," said Akhtar, who was featuring in a domestic four-day match here.

"I am thankful to the new PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf for taking the issue seriously and hope that youngsters will be educated more in this area. I have overcome those mental scars and the doping issue is behind me now."

He said the Pakistan team needs support staff to combat doping.

"Team needs a nutritionist because they haven't had one for so long. There was no doctor with us for the last four years then what we are expected to do? It was all a mistake and we will be more careful now," said Akhtar, who has targeted Pakistan's South Africa tour for a comeback next month.

"I am keen to play in the series against South Africa and then in next year's World Cup, subject to my selection.

"It would be nice to have a comeback in South Africa where pitches are good," said Akhtar, who played the last of his 42 Test against India in January this year.

The overturning of their bans also paves the way for Akhtar and Asif to feature in the World Cup, which he hopes Pakistan will win.

"I am very keen to play in the World Cup and it would be an honour for me but it is not about me or any other individual, it's the the team which needs to do well to win the World Cup."

Pakistan under Imran Khan won the World Cup in 1992.

"We have the most balanced team in the world after Australia," said Akhtar, who participated in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups.

Pakistan finished runners-up to Australia with Akhtar taking 16 wickets in the Cup held in England 1999. They were, however, ousted in the first round in South Africa four years later.


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