Shoaib believes doping saga is closed chapter

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:His fate maybe hanging in balance with the case pending in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but a nonchalant Shoaib Akhtar believes he has put the saga behind him and said he is itching to bowl.

Initially ignored, Shoaib was drafted as injured Umer Gul's cover in the Pakistan side for the South Africa tour but the ''Rawalpindi Express'' did not find a flight to Johannesburg and will miss the first Test.

Apparently unperturbed by the recent developments since testing positive for nandrolone, Shoaib said he has been cleared by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appeal committee and for him, the case is closed.

''I have been cleared by a competent committee and do not believe I'm under any kind of threat. I don't even think about it anymore,'' he told The News.

Though the PCB commitee lifted the two-year ban on Shoaib, the World Anti-Doping Agency has challenged the decision at CAS.

The mercurial pacer, however, has his eyes on the South Africa tour and he said, ''It is great to be back and even though I was looking forward to the opening Test, I'm not really disappointed at missing it because there would be two more matches to go in the series against South Africa.'' ''I'm fit and raring to go,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the enigmatic pacer again took a dig at captain Inzamam-ul Haq, who, some quarters believe, got the pacer dropped from the 17-member squad.

''I believe as captain Inzamam should be more supportive of his teammates, especially if they are going through a rough time. As a captain, it is Inzamam's responsibility to keep the players united,'' he said.


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