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October 16, 2006

The drugged cricketer

A drugs ban might end Shoaib's career

Kamran Abbasi
Shoaib Akhtar celebrates the crucial wicket of Ian Bell, England v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, The Rose Bowl, September 5, 2006
 © Getty Images
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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

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Keywords: Drugs

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Posted by Adama on (May 10, 2010, 20:37 GMT)

There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

Posted by shalabh on (January 17, 2007, 10:04 GMT)

I read somewhere Pakistan Cricket Board is planning to conduct routine drug tests on players. What is the use? They ban Asif and Akhtar mid way create a lot of hoha God knows if the poor guys were involved or not then both the guys get back to playing cricket. what is all this crap. If they were involved ban them for life and if they were not sack the guys who messed it up and make sure that no action is taken untill the board is sure the player is involved.

Posted by Umair Jafri on (December 6, 2006, 21:50 GMT)

huW; so many green-eyed people have crammed in against Akhtar. Over tuned guYs. Were are YoU.

Posted by LT COL (RETD) SANDEEP PANDIT on (November 2, 2006, 7:08 GMT)

Shoaib's two-year ban is the best thing to have happened to world cricket, though for the wrong reasons. The man should never have been allowed to bowl in international cricket in the first place. His action is suspect from whichever angle you saw it on the field. ICC's procedure for clearing a bowler is suspect - there is a lot of politics involved. He was cleared for the first time because of two reasons - 1. Dalmiya, who was the ICC President at that time wanted to be in the good books of PCB for votes, 2. If Shoaib's action was declared as suspect, Brett Lee, who had just arrived on the scene, also would have come in the firing line. In fact Shabbir has got a better action than Shoaib, but the poor man is languishing in the wilderness.

Posted by S Banerjee on (October 22, 2006, 16:55 GMT)

Though Pakistan is india's arch rival,i beleive a lot of indians like me will miss shoaib akhtar if he is banned.As it is there are a handful(exagerrated count iam sure)real "fast"bowlers in world cricket today and shoaib is one of the real characters in cricket today so it will be real sad if we don't see him bowl again.What's required is an impartial enquiry...even if he is guilty he shudn't be subject to witch hunt...punish him but please,please don't finish him.Anyway if performance enhancing drugs is that gr8 a performance booster then we'd have a hundred shoaib akhtars by now.

Posted by Rajesh Sannappareddy on (October 16, 2006, 11:43 GMT)

If Asif and Shoaib have cheated they deserve to be banned. What a shame one of the lethal opening bowling combination will be missed in the Champions Trophy.I feel something has to be done to put an end to the whole misery in Pakistani cricket.

Posted by ahmed on (October 16, 2006, 9:23 GMT)

Pakistani second string team will still be better than the bangledeshi team, so you can throw that idiotic theory out the window. At this time with all the event happening with the PBC it sounds nothing short of conspiracy, hopefully im wrong.

Posted by Sabir Hussain M.B.DIN on (October 16, 2006, 9:05 GMT)

I think this is not good for PAKISTAN cricket. One thing is positive that the board took adope test. But in this situation the Players should be warned and retain the team. Because the World Cup is so near. But i am surprized why the board taking action so late. Board should terminate the Player Powers and going on smooth way on merit.

Posted by A S Arun Kumar on (October 16, 2006, 9:05 GMT)

It cannot come at a more worse time for Pakistan. They should solve the matter internally, and get on with the game. No man is indespensible, and I am sure Pak will still do well inspite of the setback in the bowling attack

Posted by Manjunath on (October 16, 2006, 9:05 GMT)

Yes, ICC should take further step in implementing a drug test in every tournament.

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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