Sigh of relief for Pak after players test negative for dope

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 16:31 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB) officials expressed relief Wednesday after paceman Shoaib Akhtar and 25 other players cleared dope tests conducted ahead of September's Champions Trophy.

"The tests were conducted on 26 of the 30 players in the preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy and I can say that it's a great relief that all the tests are negative," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi told AFP.

Three players missed the tests carried out last week as they were playing league cricket in England, while Younis Khan was in Saudi Arabia and their tests will be conducted later, said Naghmi.

Pakistan has been embroiled in recent doping controversies.

Akhtar and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in October 2006. Akhtar was banned for two years and Asif for one year but the bans were overturned on appeal.

Asif did not feature in the latest tests as he is fighting to clear his name after he tested positive for nandrolone during the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this month.

A test on his 'B' sample is due on Aug 6.

The 32-year-old Akhtar was named in Pakistan's provisional squad earlier this month after Lahore High Court suspended a separate 18-month ban for indiscipline.

In April, Akhtar was banned for five months on a series of discipline violations, including public criticism of the PCB after he was axed from a list of 15 contracted players in January this year.

Pakistan hosts the biennial Champions Trophy from Sept 11-28, amid fears of a boycott by leading teams, including defending champions Australia, for security reasons.


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