PCB defers dope tests on offenders Akhtar, Asif

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistan completed dope tests on all but three of their World Cup 15-man squad and five reserves, but tests on Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were deferred, an official said.

"Asif is in England for a reassessment of his elbow injury and on his return will give a test, in the next few days. I have no official information on Akhtar's return home, but hopefully he too will appear soon," Pakistan Cricket Board anti-doping official Sohail Ahmed told AFP on Sunday.

Akhtar was also in England having a reassessment of a knee injury which threatens his chances of featuring in the World Cup, starting in the Caribbean from March 13.

Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was the last player to be tested on Sunday, while allrounder Shahid Afridi will appear this week upon his return from England, where he was playing in a charity match.

All the players were directed to appear for dope tests before the training camp for the World Cup starts, from February 22.

Ahmed said urine samples would be sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the next couple of days and he hoped results would be received in a week.

The PCB decided to have pre-World Cup dope tests to avoid the embarrassment of any mishap in the mega event, where the International Cricket Council (ICC) will conduct target testing.

Experts have warned that Akhtar and Asif, who face life bans if they test positive again, could still have illegal substances in their systems after they tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in October last year.

Some experts believe the prospects of another positive test and a possible life ban raise doubts on whether the pair will appear for the tests, or skip them.

If they skip the tests, they will have to be withdrawn from Pakistan's 15-man World Cup squad.

Pakistan can replace any injured or positive-tested player until March 2. After the deadline, only the ICC's technical committee can allow any replacements.

Akhtar was banned for two years and Asif for one year in November last year. However, their bans were controversially overturned by a PCB appellate committee in December, on the grounds they did not take the banned substance knowingly.

The WADA last year appealed against the bans being overturned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based in Switzerland. The CAS, which has formed a three-member panel to ascertain whether it has the jurisdiction to take the case, is unlikely to meet before April this year.


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