A drugs ban might end Shoaib's career
It's official: This is the worst time in the history of Pakistan cricket. To lose your elite opening attack to injury is one thing, to lose it to suspicions of illegal drug use is quite another. The natural reaction is to hope that there was something wrong with the samples or the analysis. Shoaib's and Asif's lawyers will inevitably try that one. The next reaction is to come up with an extraordinary excuse for an humiliating finding. Expect them both to try that as well. Whether or not those lines of defence will achieve anything is yet to be seen but what this incredible turn of events has achieved is the demolition of Pakistan's prospects of winning the Champions Trophy. A win from here will be a miracle.
I have little sympathy for players who take performance enhancing drugs. The rules are clear. But I do have a little sympathy for the players, blissful ignorance is no excuse but it is partly understandable. It is their doctors, advisers, and cricket board that I have no sympathy for. It is these people who destroy careers through their arrogance and their negligence. It seems incredible to me--if true--that this is the first drug test performed by the PCB.
I am also baffled why they have been called back before the test was repeated? Laboratory tests are never 100% reliable.
We don't yet know the extent of the problem but Shane Warne ended up with a one-year ban when he got into trouble. A one-year ban would be a major setback for Asif and he might never recover though you would hope he would. A one-year ban for Shoaib would be as good as the end of his career.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here