The drugged cricketer November 1, 2006

A peculiarly Pakistani muddle

Amid the shame of the verdicts against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, one aspect of this whole business is bothering me
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Amid the shame of the verdicts against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, one aspect of this whole business is bothering me. The Pakistan Cricket Board sensibly handed the matter over to an independent tribunal. Smart and fair move. The tribunal has delivered its verdict. Tough but fair? Well, perhaps not.

Any legal case--and that is exaclty what this was--requires a due process, and that includes the opportunity for the defendants to test the evidence and present their defence in a proper manner. The tribunal has tried to argue that Pakistan's premier bowlers were given the opportunity to defend themseves. M'lord, I beg to differ.

The simple point is that neither player had legal representation. Asif, who the tribunal has tried to portray as some kind of village idiot, defended himself. Shoaib, who the tribunal has tried to portray as a charlatan, was defended by a doctor turned administrator turned journalist. Now all professionals must recognise the limits of their profession. Doctors are not lawyers, and it might have been better for Shoaib if his good doctor had butted out.

You might say that this was not a formal court case but a quasi-legal process. You might say that the players exercised choice. But I'd say that it is the responsibility of the court (quasi or otherwise) to ensure that the defendants are adequately defended, and in this regard Shahid Hamid has failed. Indeed, if it is true as reported that Hamid was chatting about the drugs hearing during another case and before the verdict was out, he has prejudiced the hearing and called into question its integrity. Add to this the incredible sensitivity of this issue in Pakistan and you might imagine that a wise lawyer would insist that the evidence against the players is tested as robustly as possible by the defence.

The point of this is not to come up with some ruse to find the players not guilty. The point is to ensure that the process has been a proper and fair one. If after such a process the verdict stands then they must be punished--and let's be clear that the tribunal's decision to punish the players differently is barely credible. But my interpretation of the tribunal proceedings is that this was not an adequate process. How can justice be done without defence lawyers? If there was one lesson from the Hair controversy it was that you should never leave for a cricket hearing without a lawyer, better still a whole team of them.

The verdicts have been given face validity by whisperings from Shaharyar Khan and others around the team about their suspicions of Shoaib's illicit drug use. Well, if that is the case then when was that evidence produced at the hearing? If such senior people knew of such misdemeanours or even suspected them why was Shoaib allowed to play for Pakistan at all? If Shaharyar Khan knew, you can't tell me that Nasim Ashraf didn't.

The Pakistan Cricket Board is hoping that it will be given credit by the international community for its tough stance. Truly, all drug cheats must be banned. Unfortunately, gaining credibiilty is not simply about draconian punishments. It is also about due process. I fear that Pakistan's pace bowlers--guilty or not--have not had justice. If I were them and I were innocent, as they insist, I would appeal and I would beg and borrow to gather the best lawyers I could lay my hands on. These cricketers have been badly advised throughout their treatment and now through their disgrace. This whole incident has the hallmark of a peculiarly Pakistani muddle.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prudence on November 12, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    Big help, big help. And superlative news of crsoue.

  • Mathew Byars on December 5, 2006, 11:56 GMT

    Alec Baldwin asks for his voice to be removed from an "unfair" documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger...

  • David Furrows on December 5, 2006, 9:11 GMT

    As I wrote earlier today, and on 6 November, the decision to pick such adjudicators as Haseeb Ahsan and Fakhruddin Ibrahim has led to the players being let off.

    But the extent of the whitewash will backfire on the PCB, because I see the ICC contesting it and referring the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will probably ban BOTH players for the full two years.

    It was plausible for Asif to have his sentence shortened (but not overturned) because he had not attended the PCB anti-drug course. But for Shoaib to be exonerated is just too rich, and Ibrahim (already unrespected overseas for originally exonerating Salim Malik, and stating that Warne and May "concocted the charges for reasons best known to themselves" has really over-stretched himself this time.

    This verdict will harm the PCB, and will result in Asif being banned for much longer than he otherwise would have been.

  • David Furrows on December 4, 2006, 21:31 GMT

    Mark my words from 6 November: the sentences will be commuted on appeal today, and I bet the mitigating factors for Asif will be virtually exactly as I wrote a month ago!

  • Ammar on December 4, 2006, 13:31 GMT

    Well whatever the circumstances were the thing could have been handled lot well.....the bowlers are not to be blamed only their are other people involved like coach and the physio who are responsible to look for players.... above all these guys are needed for world cuP so lets hoPe tht these to return back and make the team stronger

  • Blaise Kessler on November 21, 2006, 13:46 GMT

    hardcore porn elisha cuthbert porn Microsoft and Peter Jackson postpone the making of a film based on the Halo video game after backers pull out...

  • Ushna Rizwan on November 20, 2006, 17:02 GMT

    I love Asif and no one dare say anything against him!!!!!

  • Talha Ahmed on November 11, 2006, 10:52 GMT

    I thought the advantage of internal testing was to save Pakistani players from an ICC ban. Since, the tests were not official, PCB could have protected its players by not exposing them to ICC tests. Lets trash the objectives - To save PCB from embarrasment ... to enforce the law ... Who are we kidding! the whole of PCB has been running under no constitution for seven years!

    One thing is for sure ... It is cheating if we let players who will test positive for nandrolone, to play in a cricket match. So no matter what, intentional or not, the two should not be allowed to play until their levels come down naturally to the acceptable region.

  • Waqas on November 7, 2006, 19:33 GMT

    Will you all stop whining and get your facts straight? Two grown up(assumably) men tested positive for a banned substance in their urine. Theres no denying that. First of all the levels of nandrolone in their urine cannot be acheived by eating suppliments or by diet. The results are clear evidence that they both "intentionally" took the substance. Secondly how stupid/illitrate do you have to be to know what the concequences of taking these drugs would be. I dont think you need any one to tell you that taking any sort of steriod is ILLEGAL. Thirdly, if i was innocent i would have had the PCB test my urine samples A through Z. Explain to me why they backed out of a retest? So stop convincing your selves that these guys didnt know what they were doing. As for the role of PCB in all of this. They never forced these players to take anything. So they cannot be blamed at all. What the PCB has done here is that they have sent out a clear message to every player on the team, that use of these drugs will not be tolerated, regardless if you are a bowler or batsman. Regardless how important you are to the team, regardless if you can or cannot understand english. These players not only represent themselves but a whole nation.They should be EXTRA careful about stuff they eat or take. The PCB could help, but in the end the sole responsibility lies on the players. Bottome line is, these guys were not expecting to be caught and once they were confronted , had no idea on how to come up with a good enough excuse for their results. Having said all that, lets get our acts together and try to make best use of the little time we have before the world cup. Lets stop crying over split milk and utilize whatever resources we have to prepare for the future.

  • David Furrows on November 6, 2006, 23:40 GMT

    Call me a cynic, but I'm beginning to suspect a devious plan here.

    The composition of the original three man panel could normally be expected to produce a harsh sanction, while I would expect Hasib Ahsan and his colleagues on the appeal panel to be considerably more charitable.

    Moreover, the lightweight composition of the bowling "attack" selected for the West Indies series (even in Asif and Shoaib's absence there is no place for Rana Naved or Sami) makes me suspect that a place is being kept warm for Mohammed Asif.

    I can already imagine the verdict....

    "We uphold Asif's appeal. There is no evidence that he had ever participated in education about illegal drugs.....he ceased to use the substances as soon as instructed to by the team physio....his limited English and educational background make it unrealistic to expect him to be aware of illegal doping regulations....there is no evidence of any intent to cheat...we find him technically guilty of consuming the drugs, but belive that his lack of intent to break any rules and lack of education mitigate the offence and we commute the 1 year penalty to a suspended sentence".

    The PCB secured excellent publicity with the original sound processes and strong punishments. If my prediction of a commuted sentence for Asif comes true we will know that it was all just a front.

  • Prudence on November 12, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    Big help, big help. And superlative news of crsoue.

  • Mathew Byars on December 5, 2006, 11:56 GMT

    Alec Baldwin asks for his voice to be removed from an "unfair" documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger...

  • David Furrows on December 5, 2006, 9:11 GMT

    As I wrote earlier today, and on 6 November, the decision to pick such adjudicators as Haseeb Ahsan and Fakhruddin Ibrahim has led to the players being let off.

    But the extent of the whitewash will backfire on the PCB, because I see the ICC contesting it and referring the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will probably ban BOTH players for the full two years.

    It was plausible for Asif to have his sentence shortened (but not overturned) because he had not attended the PCB anti-drug course. But for Shoaib to be exonerated is just too rich, and Ibrahim (already unrespected overseas for originally exonerating Salim Malik, and stating that Warne and May "concocted the charges for reasons best known to themselves" has really over-stretched himself this time.

    This verdict will harm the PCB, and will result in Asif being banned for much longer than he otherwise would have been.

  • David Furrows on December 4, 2006, 21:31 GMT

    Mark my words from 6 November: the sentences will be commuted on appeal today, and I bet the mitigating factors for Asif will be virtually exactly as I wrote a month ago!

  • Ammar on December 4, 2006, 13:31 GMT

    Well whatever the circumstances were the thing could have been handled lot well.....the bowlers are not to be blamed only their are other people involved like coach and the physio who are responsible to look for players.... above all these guys are needed for world cuP so lets hoPe tht these to return back and make the team stronger

  • Blaise Kessler on November 21, 2006, 13:46 GMT

    hardcore porn elisha cuthbert porn Microsoft and Peter Jackson postpone the making of a film based on the Halo video game after backers pull out...

  • Ushna Rizwan on November 20, 2006, 17:02 GMT

    I love Asif and no one dare say anything against him!!!!!

  • Talha Ahmed on November 11, 2006, 10:52 GMT

    I thought the advantage of internal testing was to save Pakistani players from an ICC ban. Since, the tests were not official, PCB could have protected its players by not exposing them to ICC tests. Lets trash the objectives - To save PCB from embarrasment ... to enforce the law ... Who are we kidding! the whole of PCB has been running under no constitution for seven years!

    One thing is for sure ... It is cheating if we let players who will test positive for nandrolone, to play in a cricket match. So no matter what, intentional or not, the two should not be allowed to play until their levels come down naturally to the acceptable region.

  • Waqas on November 7, 2006, 19:33 GMT

    Will you all stop whining and get your facts straight? Two grown up(assumably) men tested positive for a banned substance in their urine. Theres no denying that. First of all the levels of nandrolone in their urine cannot be acheived by eating suppliments or by diet. The results are clear evidence that they both "intentionally" took the substance. Secondly how stupid/illitrate do you have to be to know what the concequences of taking these drugs would be. I dont think you need any one to tell you that taking any sort of steriod is ILLEGAL. Thirdly, if i was innocent i would have had the PCB test my urine samples A through Z. Explain to me why they backed out of a retest? So stop convincing your selves that these guys didnt know what they were doing. As for the role of PCB in all of this. They never forced these players to take anything. So they cannot be blamed at all. What the PCB has done here is that they have sent out a clear message to every player on the team, that use of these drugs will not be tolerated, regardless if you are a bowler or batsman. Regardless how important you are to the team, regardless if you can or cannot understand english. These players not only represent themselves but a whole nation.They should be EXTRA careful about stuff they eat or take. The PCB could help, but in the end the sole responsibility lies on the players. Bottome line is, these guys were not expecting to be caught and once they were confronted , had no idea on how to come up with a good enough excuse for their results. Having said all that, lets get our acts together and try to make best use of the little time we have before the world cup. Lets stop crying over split milk and utilize whatever resources we have to prepare for the future.

  • David Furrows on November 6, 2006, 23:40 GMT

    Call me a cynic, but I'm beginning to suspect a devious plan here.

    The composition of the original three man panel could normally be expected to produce a harsh sanction, while I would expect Hasib Ahsan and his colleagues on the appeal panel to be considerably more charitable.

    Moreover, the lightweight composition of the bowling "attack" selected for the West Indies series (even in Asif and Shoaib's absence there is no place for Rana Naved or Sami) makes me suspect that a place is being kept warm for Mohammed Asif.

    I can already imagine the verdict....

    "We uphold Asif's appeal. There is no evidence that he had ever participated in education about illegal drugs.....he ceased to use the substances as soon as instructed to by the team physio....his limited English and educational background make it unrealistic to expect him to be aware of illegal doping regulations....there is no evidence of any intent to cheat...we find him technically guilty of consuming the drugs, but belive that his lack of intent to break any rules and lack of education mitigate the offence and we commute the 1 year penalty to a suspended sentence".

    The PCB secured excellent publicity with the original sound processes and strong punishments. If my prediction of a commuted sentence for Asif comes true we will know that it was all just a front.

  • Prasanna on November 5, 2006, 1:00 GMT

    should sami not get a chance to pick the ball, and, bowl at the same pace again? i guess he has dropped his pace and those speedy bouncer and deadly yorkers.. Is there no one to guide him a little?

  • mawali on November 4, 2006, 18:45 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi you are on the money here. PCB, is at fault for the whole debacle right from the gitgo. To start with, why did the PCB not initiate the testing either well before or right after the Champions Trophy. Then, if the PCB heads knew of Shoiab's antics; how come they did not convey their strongest dissaproval and possible investigation at the time. Where was Bob Woolmer, while this was going on in his backyard? The point is that PCB failed miserably in executing its reponsibilities and when the going got tough turned a blind eye and decided to look like the choir boys. No one can convince me that the PCB did not collude with the dummy tribunal. Hello! this is Pakistan folks, where all things are impossible and possible depending on who you know and how big is your offering. Shame on Intikhab Alam for bringing up Shoaibs personal matters into the public forum. If Shoaib drinks or dates women well, that is entirely his matter and NO body but, no body has a right to tell him otherwise or much less admonish him. Being a Muslim does not mean you go about bad mouthing others for their deeds. Quran clearly says your religion asks ONLY for self accountability at the day of judgement. Intikham Alam will not be asked to account for Shaoib just his own gossiping rumor mongering self. To conclude the judgements against both Shoaib and Asif are tainted and misguided and should be revoked forthwith.

  • najam on November 4, 2006, 10:10 GMT

    PCB has no affiliation with WADA. It's anti-drug program has no affiliation with WADA, infact not even at par with the one employed by WADA. So, the question begs, why use WADA protocols when subjecting the punishment? Is that fair in any way? Also, why are the bans so long? Cricket is more of skill and not strength. Anabolic steroids dont help in that case. Shoaib and Asif wouldn't start bowling at 100+mph !! They need to get a good lawyer, that will solve the problem.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz Ahmad on November 4, 2006, 6:45 GMT

    The verdict was given and even if the players appeal against it, Shoaib's career is definitely over. Unfortunately the timing cant get any worse for Pakistan team. Recent ICC championship outing did enough to leave question marks on our seam attack and Rana Naveed looked pedestrian and only Umar Gul was the notable exception.

    Lot of us wished to Sami back in the ODI arena but perhaps we didn’t want envision Sami to feature in test arena again but it seems inevitable that Sami will return to International Cricket once again.

    Rao Iftikhar and Yasir Arafat can not be included as fast bowlers in our test team and none of them look like taking any wickets anyway. Abdur Razzaq is a bit of an enigma. If he cant get his feet moving, then it could be a concern too. Given his batting and bowling capabilities its does not harm to have a pace bowling allrounder. Inclusion of Kaneria among our bowling ranks will mean that in the sub continent we will always be a good bowling side. However I strongly believe that Afridi should open like Gayle. I don’t think other openers can do a good enough job anyway. So we cant afford to leave him out.

    Younis, Yusuf Inzamam and perhaps a more technically correct Asim Kamal can hold the middle order together.

    But Sami will again be the new ball partner of Umar Gul.

  • zarmina on November 3, 2006, 12:32 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, I am sure that the players have taken nandrolone, knowingly. Not possible for Pakistani Hakeem (quacks) to prescribe such an expensive steriod, and I do not think that Shoaib is so cheap to take Hakeem tonics, which he could not even explain to jury. As far as decisions are concernced I think they are right, Asif was given less punishment on right grounds that he did not attend the infomation sessions on drugs use. To me I think they should not reverse the decisions on any ground, now I feel that if players are given choice to appeal, the appalet pannel must include two international and three local experts to give furhter consolidation to decision. It will certainly raise our heads as being the fairest cricket board and true cricket loving nation. It will certainly go long to prove our standards of sports governance. I hope if that it is right, that both of them are innocent, at least Asif must prove his innoncence, if not they must be punished severly. Zarmina.

  • Paul on November 3, 2006, 11:38 GMT

    I must say, i think, if they are genuinely guilty, then they got off pretty lightly. However what worries me is the comments made about Shoaib's personal life. They are decent grounds for an appeal in so far as indicating a prejudical attitude from the board towards him. And in a time where the team is desperately trying to convince the world that the team is about cricket, not Islam, and that Islam should not be brought into the cricketing issues, they go and criticise Shoaib for indulging in 'Western decadence.' Now i certainly don't agree with Shoaib's behaviour, but i feel that in the current climate, the PCB's comments are naive at best and prejudicial at worst.

  • Asad Khan on November 3, 2006, 8:48 GMT

    I must say that Kamran bhai is right. The whole matter was handled badly to satisfy the ICC and the other boards. On Shoaib punishment i only can say that for PCB it was a PERSONAL MATTER, nothing else - the press release including his personal life (alcohol, sex life) is pathetic. I personally think both should appeal against the ban - for me it is not handled professionally at all - just for the sake of the ICC both were banned. Shoaib has done wrong in the past but in a fair court these things does not matter. Same goes for Asif - the guy is not a village idiot as displayed by PCB. He is a very intelligent bowler, if he cannot speak english - who cares !? Then PCB should explain such issues in their own language! The whole team including Inzi can barely speak english and we have a coach who only can speak english! The whole team should get information in urdu and not english - PCB is responsible for these kind of informations and if they cannot do that rightly then they cannot blame their players!!!

  • Atique Siddiqi on November 3, 2006, 8:44 GMT

    This is a great injustice to Pakistan Cricket. And why do we blame everything on the government and to our supposedly White Masters. Getting back to the issue at hand, i think the two players should appeal their verdict in a court of law and not a PCB tribunal. They should hire professional sports lawyers. I'm pretty sure if they take these actions, they will be acquitted of the charges. And the statements made about the two players characters especially Shoiab are just shameful. We are talking about grown up adults, professinals. They should have the sanity to not discuss these issues in public and it is their personal opinion. A person's character has nothing to do with how much committed he is to the cause at hand.

    I just wish they are both acquitted of the charges and we can see them opening the bowling in the World Cup.

  • Ghalib Taimur on November 3, 2006, 5:49 GMT

    Anyone who thinks Shoaib has taken drugs is way over his head.Shoaib might have temperamental issues but he is not stupid to take drugs after knowing the PCB tests players frequently.

    The PCB to me have given this sentence in order to show how fair Pakistanis are but i guess the unfortunate thing is that its just a show.

    I have heard theories about nandrolone and Shoaib must seek help form universities in the US to help him on the matter of nandrolone and how it works.

    Shoaib the country is behind you!!

  • Shakir Naved on November 3, 2006, 4:52 GMT

    I salute PCB for the action taken. I am a sportsman myself and have two children hoping to reach the highest level possible in their chosen sports. We all looked upto Shoaib and of late Asif for his tremendous talent. But we have lost all respect for them now. Because sport represents life....when you think you can cheat and win against others you are actually cheating yourself and there is no greater crime than that. People who are lamenting the bans imposed must spare a thought for the hundreds and thousands of hard-working aspiring cricketers who are waiting to make the cut. There are no short cuts to success and those who take that route meet with disaster sooner than later.

  • Faisal Jafri on November 3, 2006, 4:08 GMT

    Here we go again! Suddenly everyone feels that they are an expert on drugs abuse and can comment on how people percieved to have indulged in the abuse should be treated. Let me ask all those people who have either commented on the contribution by Mr. Abbasi or are calling for the cricketer's blood, how much they actually know about drug abuse. I agree with Mr. Abbasi that when decision is taken to take away some one's ability to earn a living as the case will be with Shoaib Akhtar, can you make a decision on such sketchy speculations? The committee formed by the PCB was actually out to as Mr Intikhab Alam put it 'make an example' out of some one. What an absolutely stupid thing to say. I am afraid that all these PCB Chairman's appointed as a favour rather than to ad value to the system will continue to use their appointments for personal gains and will continue to take steps that are ostensibly to improve the game, but are actually taken to try and gain personal grounds. Just to summarise my point of-when a deciosion of this magnitude is taken it perhaps makes sense for a tribunal to set up and submit its observations not give the decision so quickly.

  • Jobi-Mustajab on November 3, 2006, 3:55 GMT

    According to Intikhab Alam, Alcohal use and having an active sex life contributed as factor in Shoaib Aktar's two year ban.If that is the criteria than Intikab should Ban the whole english and australian cricket squads.

  • SYED.USA on November 3, 2006, 3:15 GMT

    Dr.Ashraf wanted to send a message to the world about the honesty and image of Pakistan cricket?How rubbish!Discipline,curtailing player power,getting the house in order.........Just let me remind him of few things. What was he doing at the Oval fiasco?no official status,Why he put all the blame squarely on Inzi?very unprofessional for the head of an institution. Discipline? Why did'nt he banned or fined Mr.Dummy Captain aka younus khan after his brain explosion. Instead, the guy brings him back as a captain,Poor Yousuf deserves a lot of praise here. Who adviced Mr.Ashraf that his primary goal is to please the world and ICC at the expense of Pakistani Cricket? I would be very carefully following the developments about Mr.Hair and How much mettle and guts Mr.Ashraf has to persue it till the end,I personally doubt,this said umpire will be surely present at the world cup if not before,including Pakistani matches. To be a smart leader u need to be firm but tactical,intelligent and be able to protect,nurse and guide your assets(2 main bowlers)at the time of their ignorance and stupidity.I am sure there could have been much better ways to deal with this mess with lighter punishments,hefty fines with some match suspensions, and if ICC or WDC had any objections it could have been dealt at that time,Oh sorry, this Mr.Smart Ashraf is on a mission of image building! Finally PCB or the tribunal had no business to expose one's private and personal life , A glaring mistake of violating confedentiality.If nothing else Shoaib could consult his legal team on this matter. Both bowlers should go all the way with all the best and if pricy legal team(sure they can afford) to fight this just because the way the whole issue was conducted.I am not trying to find excuses for the bowlers but the biggest ignorance for them was not to have a legal representation in a matter of grave consequences to their career?I think they did'nt feel the need to bring court and law in home conflicts and disputes and perhaps , they trusted their very own to help them in this trouble time, rather than put them up for public humiliation.Ahhhh......so naive village boys!!!!

    Syed .....USA

  • Nathan on November 3, 2006, 0:41 GMT

    I cannot believe some of the comments here. What is it about some Pakistani cricket followers that makes them believe that their players should be above the law?

    The guys broke the rules and got banned, seems pretty simple to me.

    I'm surprised that no one is blaming Darrel Hair, he's obviously to blame somehow ...

  • K on November 2, 2006, 23:29 GMT

    Intereting is to read Inti Alam's comment on Cricinfo today where he says something to the tune of "We had to make an example of Shoaib...." and "He drinks alcohol, has an active sex life.." . None of this is absolutely relevant to the issue. To me this smacks of nothing but PCB trying to assert some authority over the players where they should be focusing more on teaching the right things to the players. Asif stopped when the official doctor told him to... nothing in the release says anything about Shoaib on this. Was he not told to stop by the official doctor ? Or was the official doctor not involved in Shoaib - if so this is PCB's fault not Shoaib's.

  • sabika on November 2, 2006, 21:16 GMT

    It would seem the pcb is covering up their failure to educate Asif on the proper WADA documents by simply saying "Well he would not have understood them anyways." and making him look like an idiot who understands no english whatsoever, where as when you hear him speak he is not as bad as they make it seem. You can understand what he is saying at least

    On Shoaib i think they are just trying to set an example and send a strong message through by simply giving him a very high sentence and making him look like a spotlight-loving show boy

    If Asif and Shoiab sue the pcb it should be for defamation of character.

  • Zain on November 2, 2006, 20:39 GMT

    What on earth does Alam think he is doing commenting about Shoaib's private life in the media? Reading his statement on cricinfo it sounded like he was more interestedin making an example out of Shoaib becasue of his "un islamic" ways than his steroid use. Get these religious self righteous nut jobs who pry and poke into the lives of Pakistanis out of authority please.

  • Ameet on November 2, 2006, 20:35 GMT

    Pls. read Intikhab Alam's take on why Shoaib copped a two year ban as opposed to Asif's one. 'On Asif he said: "We decided to ban him for a year because his English is not that good, he comes from a remote village where he would not have been educated on the dangers of drugs in sport and so he doesn't understand."'. Bizarre are the workings of authority. Ever heard the statute, Ignorantia juris non excusat (Latin for "ignorance of the law is no excuse") implies that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content.

  • Adeel on November 2, 2006, 18:32 GMT

    This is the history of our country, we never honour our heroes.Other then Imran Khan none of our top players good a deserving farewell. This current situation seems to be a part of a big political game,starting from the oval incidence and ,till now,carried till SHOAIB/ASIF incidence. KAMRAN is absolutely right,both players were adjudged guilty without any solid evidence.Pakistan's few percent chances of winning the world cup are over,unless our backup bowlers perform well or something dramtic happens and the ban over SHOAIB & ASIF is lifted.

  • maynak on November 2, 2006, 18:31 GMT

    Indeed the doping schedule is a shame for the PCB and for the country as a whole. But, I totally disagree with the disproportionate bans that have been handed down to Shoaib and Asif. Either both should have got 2 yrs or both 1 yr. The PCB is clearly does not like Shoaib becuase of his modern outlook and this to me in, in this day and age is just ridiculous. As long as he delivers the PCB need not and should not have any opinion or input regarding his personal life. Asif on the other hand fits their likes : does not speak proper english, prays to God as per PCB requirements, has no social life, drinks only colas and soft drinks approved by the PCB list, bowls well, is froma small town, can be controlled/dominated by the PCB and so on....poor Shoaib does not and cannot be dominated and that is his fault. Shoab should have been born in a country with a more Western outlook - he would have thrived.

  • Dr. M. Z. Mashreque on November 2, 2006, 16:47 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif had been the sacrificial lambs. PCB, an outgrowth of the present military junta, reflects the same servile attitude of its master. Just as Busharraf and the henchmen would do anything-even massacre their own people-to please the super-rogue, it does not matter to PCB if Pak Cricket as a team is shattered, if two greats with immense possibilities are handed over raw deals, if the circumstances warranted a more understanding, fair ruling. From the very beginning these two great fast bowlers were adjudged guilty even before the court-martial procedure started. Intekhab Alam's outrageously impudent, character-assassinating and largely irrelevant "comments" on Shoaib and Asif flagrantly display the tribunal's incompetence and made-up mental make-up. But they have satisfied their desires to please the kingpin. At what cost? Again and again, at the cost of Pakistani people's Cricket, morale and aspirations.

  • Pushan on November 2, 2006, 16:37 GMT

    In fact both should have been banned for life...

  • Atif on November 2, 2006, 16:05 GMT

    I am huge fan of pakistan team but what PCB and intikhab alam did yesterday is disgusting. I agree with many people above that we need to stop pleasing ICC by punishing our own players. The statement in which intikhab explained why they banned our players is ridiculous, didnt even make any sense. I hope what inti said becomes a huge issue and he gets a lot of heat for this. Stop trying to please ICC you bunch of retards (PCB)

  • omer shafiq on November 2, 2006, 15:18 GMT

    i do not agree with banning shoaib and asif. the world is against the pak team just now and the pcb has only one foreign policy and thats kiss ICC ass!

  • Musaib on November 2, 2006, 14:56 GMT

    Honestly, I get the feeling that the PCB *wanted* to ban Asif and Akhtar so that they can show the world they are "fair and unbais"...

  • Shahid on November 2, 2006, 14:02 GMT

    Kamran, any legal decision involving stakeholders like this will have criticism. Dont forget who are we trying to defend here: Shoaib Akhtar. I would say that we have had enough of him and what even if he had not been banned. From now on till the world cup he would have just played few games and thats it, breaking down time and again, it costs the team. On the other hand Asif's case was different and PCB had to set an example for other players just like they did by banning Salim Malik in the match fixing affair. At least from hereon our players will know what the consequences would be if they are involved in any such wrongdoings. You know we are a nation who can be run rightly by the rod and not by the laws. It is really disturbing to loose both of our strike bowlers for the world cup but an example has been set and comeon we can still do good during the world cup just our batsmen have to take more responisibility and with Shabbir Ahmad coming back (i hope he is able to) i think we have a replacement for Asif but yeah Shoaibs loss is a tragedy and will be hard to replace but then, replace where, he hardly used to be found on the scorecards. Now that everything is clear its time to move on and hope our team can gather ourselves from hereon and show that we perform in the face of adversity. A TEST OF TRUE CHARACTER AWAITS A TEAM OF TIGERS THAT IS MIGHTY GOOD WHEN THEY ARE CORNERED.

    Jhapatna palatna, palat kar jhaptna Laho garam rakhnay ka hai ik bahana.

  • Aamer on November 2, 2006, 13:58 GMT

    I am really saddened by the result. It is not the players but the PCB bosses who need to be banned from the game. Why in the first place the players are allowed to have private trainers. The whole affair is handled to please the ICC and at the cost of Pakistans team. The infiriority complex in the PCB has led to this situation. Even Shane warne was given a I yr ban depite admitting to the drug abuse. Why become more harsh than the Goras ??? just to prove to the masters that we r your humble pupils??? The self congradulatory tone of PCB officals is disgusting!!!

  • Dr.S.K.Gardezi on November 2, 2006, 13:21 GMT

    I think the Doping Case has been handled pretty well by the PCB.But the punishments awarded to both the bowlers wont do any good to future aspects of Pakistan Cricket team.Frankly speaking i dont think that we have got any replacements for either Asif or Shoaib.Therefore in my point of view it would have been far better if PCB would have fined them with a final warning that these sort of issues wont be tolerated in the future.Without these bowlers the chances for Pakistan Cricket team in the World Cup look very slim.Anyways Bravo PCB for taking such bold decisions.It has done a world of good to the sagging reputation of Pakistan Cricket team all over the world.

  • Suleman Ahmed on November 2, 2006, 13:06 GMT

    After reading the results of the doping test I cannot but feel that the PCB has not been advising the players correctly.

    There does not seem to be any proper setup at the PCB to advise on the revelant anti doping laws. Heaven knows who advises the players on proper exercise and diet.

    I think its time to get rid of this adhoc structure we need some accountabilty. Shoiab and Asif may or may not deserve the book being thrown at them but the PCB deserves a severe repremand for not running a tight ship.

  • Wasif on November 2, 2006, 13:01 GMT

    Kamran,

    There are two ways to look at this. First, they took the drugs, got caught and got kicked and thats that. No one is interested why it happened, how it happened and to most of the cricket lovers, what the hell just happened? Was it fair ... may be. But it does send out a strong message to all the other players out there to be careful of what they consume in the future either for soaring pain or tostesterone levels.

    But i guess there is another issue here that has not been highlighted properly; should this thing have happened at all? who is responsible for telling the players what medicines to take when they are injured. is there a policy to oversee the recovery of players from injury? is there a list of drugs or substances that are not to be taken by players despite there status of a village idiot or the nations playboy?

    I would say that the state of our cricket and our label as the most unpredictable team in the world have all sprung from the lack of proper management of our cricket affairs. Lets just take the example of David Beckham and Alex Ferguson. Bekhs had to leave his beloved club becuase the man incharge was the man incharge.

  • Zarrar Khan Niazi on November 2, 2006, 12:19 GMT

    Yet another show of injustice and incompetence by a highly unprofessional board. One that is run by administrators hand picked by the president and with little or no knowledge of cricket. Furthermore, administrators with big egos who see themselves at par with the players. Its a case of board and its officials trying to teach the players a lesson for an offence that still remains ambiguous. one wonders if its an example of an administrative body acting bigger than the game. All in all, in Akhtar Pakistan has lost a cricketer of the highest claibre, and what awaits them now in South Africa and the World Cup is anybody's guess. Moreover, it also raises the issue regarding the extent to which, if at all, any muscle building drug or medicine can inf luence a cricketers performance. Does it help to swing it more or time the ball better is what perplexes me. And in this day and age of non- stop cricket, boards and fans demanding the best players to remain fit at all times , one wonders if any drug that speeds recovery could be of any use. Having said all that, amid all wranglings that corrupt the PCB its hard to believe that the players in question were given a fair trial, let alone the thought of any ulterior motives. And Given PCB's immaculate track record of professionalism it is only anybody's guess about the authenticity and utility of any awareness programme started by them.

  • Ammar Khan on November 2, 2006, 12:10 GMT

    Seems like most people missing the point, about Kamran's arguments. 1) It seems stupid to get your sample B re-tested when it comes form the same piece of URINE, it would result in the same conclusion. 2) Shoaib can EASILY SUE for DEFAMATION, the hearing was into DRUG USE relating to CRICKET, not into his PERSONAL/PRIVATE LIFE life. HE HAS been WRONGED. How would the PCB, or the people incharged of this enquiry feel, if it came out they had NO-BALLS to make the correct decision, following the correct procedures. 3)The RIGTHS of an INDVIDUAL have been again voilated in PAKISTAN, I think you are subject to the presumption of innocence before guilt, but here the verdict had been clearly made before the trial, or actually no trial as it turned out. 4) Dirty politics and corruption are the WINNERS, the decision was made to PLEASE the 'WESTERNERS', a political move by the new chairman and his endorser to show the WORLD they are becoming westernised. I mean C'mon we have already heard his opinions on Islam. 5) This may not be the LAST of this trial, in PAK everything is possible and nothing impossible, I am no betting man, but I wouldn't be surprised if I see the names Akhtar and Asif opening the bowling for PAK in the World Cup.

    A great ARTICLE, keep it Kamran.

  • Zed Faze; on November 2, 2006, 12:00 GMT

    I agree with you. I hear that it was Bob Woolmer who requested tests be done. If that is the case, being a coach, why he did not talk to the players concerned and guide them of the problems they could face. The sad side of the episode is PCB is not an elected body and therefore answerable to 'no one'and in this case there are traces of trying to be the 'good boy' of ICC. The damage is done and Pakistan would do well to pick up the threads and try and build a formidable bowling power. The team has to look positively and a thorough search may unearth many talents waiting in the wings. It will be their chance to grab the opportunity. Also, Shabbir Ahmed's ban will end in December and he should be rehabilitated with urgency so that some of the damage can be repaired. He was very effective on West Indies' pitches. Of the Under 19's, Anwar Ali was very impressive and moves the ball a great deal in the mould of Mohamed Asif. Mohamed Irshad can be trained to provide the speed. It is always the hard times that produce the winners and stars. All is not lost Pakistan.

  • Riz... London on November 2, 2006, 11:45 GMT

    Really a sad incident and to me has not been covered well by PCB. They should have handled it as their internal matter rather than showing the rest of the world as some point to prove from the new management of PCB.

    Lets leave the outcome…. Whatever happened shouldn’t have happened at the first place starting from the start of the issue till the judgment itself.

    If the outcome is to show how strict and honest the new management is than why PCB selectors brought Asif at the first place in the squad for ICC Champions Trophy when Team Physician officially stopped him from taking further medicine few months back? Can anyone from PCB give an explanation or they are also excused like our Military and President for their actions. Please guys we are not Ghulam any more and we dont have to stay under White Masters... plz try and learn taking stance on issues which are internal and start thinking and acting as Independent Nation.

  • Zainub on November 2, 2006, 11:36 GMT

    In general I tend to have no or very little level of respect for the PCB, the manner in which it is run or the morals of those who run it, but credit where it’s due - for once they have done something in a honorable manner. They set up an independent tribunal, who has not been afraid to criticize their policy towards educating the players in addition to giving a zero tolerance verdict to the players.

    Plus they also asked the players to get lawyers to defend them selves (in Asif’s case, as I understand, requested more then once) yet still the players, which are sane adults in the 21st century, both of whom who had enough knowledge and sense to go ahead and start consuming nutritional supplements with formal medical advice, did not some how have the sense to hire for them selves legal representation? Unfair tribunal or guilty conscious on the players’ part, I know which seems more evident; others can make up their own minds.

    You say it should be the tribunal's responsibility to make sure the accused are well represented, what in all the world do you expect? That the tribunal ought to have gone ahead and hired lawyers for the players themselves? Don’t kid me, no trial or court any where in the world would do that!

    In addition to this they were given the chance to re-test their samples, to take further tests to prove if the source of the banned substances found in their sample was exogenous or endogenous, they refused taking both these opportunities! Even now both of them have an opportunity to appeal against their ban, which is an opportunity we’re now hearing, one or both of the players might take. Still, you are not satisfied.

    What more do you want in the name of "an opportunity to defend themselves"? The PCB and the tribunal could not have done anything more in their own right to make this as fair a trial as possible. The onus was on the players to do everything they could to defend themselves, they didn't and one can only take that a sign of guilty conscious. Criticism is good if it’s for the sake of seeking improvement, but criticism just for the sheer sake of it that is like earlier commentators have put it "playing the devil's advocate".

  • Mustafa Moiz on November 2, 2006, 11:22 GMT

    The PCB were wrong in their decision. Mohammad Asif has just started playing so why would he take Nandrolone? As for Shoaib Akhtar, why would he do it at all? He knnows what could happen and he did not do it for the 1999 or 2003 World Cup. He didn't do it in the World Cup final in 1999. So why would he do it now?

  • Irtaza Hassan on November 2, 2006, 10:31 GMT

    @Sandeep They didn't decline to 'provide' a B sample. The A and B samples were taken together. Only A was tested. B is only tested if the player in question disputes the results of A sample and asks for a re-test.

    Shaoib and Asif were not disputing the test results.

  • Owais Ahmad on November 2, 2006, 10:26 GMT

    Kamran, for once please dont be a devil's advocate. By and large PCB seems to have handled it well and I am happy that we dont have to live in the shame of yet another cover up. As oboserved by ICC, the report was thorough, well written and professoinal. Though I think Shoaib's personal life should not have been put in there. Interestingly had there been a cover up, people like you would have come even harder at that. I feel both of them can still appeal and I hope and pray that an appeal results in some kind of relaxatoin in the ban. I have no inhibition in saying Shoaib is still one of my heroes. If a rock star do it why can people like him. Good thing is that rule of law was supreme in the end.

  • Shahid Samuel on November 2, 2006, 10:06 GMT

    Lets just say, its a sad day in the History of Cricket in Pakistan. I agree with Imran Khan, that this decision was harsh and probably for Shoaib, this might be the end of his career. Asif still might have a chance after one year, if he keeps himself fit and if PCB wants him back, but who cares what gonna happen after one year or two years. The Fact is that they both are not going to play in next years World Cup. Shoaib Akhtar was undoubtedly an entertainer and a good bowler, despite his attitude, he was a delight to watch after Wasim and Waqar. Lets all admit the fact that he will be missed in Pakistan 11. I atleast support Shoaib and Asif, because I think they are smart enough not to take drugs that are banned and tisk their careers. Well nobody knows the truth and who knows they night know it either that when ended up taking that drug. So guys lets pray that PCB selextion commitee comes up with some good bowlers for the World Cup or the bowlers that we have right now, should start taking some wickets, at present they will not be able to get the Bangladeshi team out, because they are batting well now a days. I am not sure if I will be interested in watching Pakistani cricket team play after the World Cup. because Inzi is gonna retire, Shoaib and Asif are out, Afridi needs to get his game back on, Yousuf is a great player, but he is not a match winner and Lets just hope others can find their game. So lets just keep ouy fingers crossed, and wich all the best to Pakistan Cricket. Shahid Samuel USA

  • JAVED A. KHAN FROM MONTREAL, CANADA on November 2, 2006, 9:33 GMT

    The moment this issue of dope test became public, people started making conclusions that Pakistanis are cheats, they do ball tampering and now they are taking drugs. With very little knowledge about Nandrolone and its mysteries they are comparing it with Cannabis, hashish, crack, cocaine etc. Or some people are assuming that Shoaib and Asif have used Anabolic Steroids which are not the same as Nandrolone.

    The fact that I have earlier mentioned the names of so many famous atheletes like, Linford Christie, Mark Richardson and Dougie Walker - all well known British sprinters - Merlene Ottey - the Jamaican former 200 m world champion - and Dieter Baumann - the German 500 m runner - all have tested positive for the same substance in such a short space of time has led to speculation that the testing procedure may be flawed or inaccurate. The interesting thing is after protesting their innocence ALL of them were subsequently cleared by their national athletics organizations and also by the IOC and went without any ban, penalty, fine or punishment. YES, This is about Nandrolone, the same substance which was found in Shoaib and Asif's samples.

    Shane Warne used a banned diuretic, which is NOT Nandrolone. Ian Bothom admitted that he smoked cannabis and he got a slap on the wrist, a ban of only 63 days! So did Stephen Fleming, Dion Nash and Mathew Hart for smoking cannabis and they got a mere $175.00 fine. South African heroes, Roger Telemachus, Andre Nel, Paul Adams, Justin Kemp and physiotherapist Craig Smith admitted the charge, as did Herschelle Gibbs and were fined for only $1300, wow!

    There are many theories about Nandrolone, a much more likely theory has recently emerged from the results of a preliminary investigation at Aberdeen University in Scotland. The findings are that dietary supplements themselves are harmless and produce no increased levels of Nandrolone. Exercise alone too, doesn't cause any problems.

    But a combination of BOTH dietary supplements (none of which contain a banned substance) and exercise, can result in a positive Nandrolone test.

    The reason for this is still unclear, but one theory is that there is a link between heavy training, the dehydration that goes with it, and their effects upon the components of high protein diets dramatically increases high levels of Nandrolone in the body .

    Therefore, taking into consideration of the above facts and also the examples of so many other atheletes and cricket players, I wanted to ask, what prompted the PCB or that Nazi Tribunal to sentence Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif for 2 years and 1 year ban respectively?

    They should know that, there is no proof that they have taken Nandrolone from an outside source as a performance enhancement drug and it's possible that the level of Nandrolone may have increased in their system due to the above mentioned theory which is a very plausible cause and scientifically proved by the Aberdeen University of Scotland.

    It should also be noted that Pakistanis in general are heavy meat eaters and the fast bowlers sweat and exert more than others and remember that they are born and trained in Pakistan which is a very hot country and that is why their stamina and speed is better than others. This was my reply to the New Zealander Adam Parore who raised his eye brows on the stamina and speed of Pakistani fast bowlers, not just Shoaib and Asif but every single fast bowler. Another point to note is lack of education and knowledge, remember Abdul Razzaq eating only and only spinach for several weeks and one day he fainted! Probably he must have been influenced by Popoye the Sailor Man.

    I am sure that most people are aware that there are so many atheletes who train at a high altitude, but most people do not know the scientific reason behind such trainings. At high altitudes the level of oxygen is less which most of us know but, what more? Our bodies are designed to sense the lower level of oxygen and our kidneys produce erythropoietin.

    Erythropoietin or EPO is a growth factor. This means it is a naturally occuring substance, which encourages our bone marrow to make more red blood cells which means the bodies can perform better even when the oxygen level is less.

    The atheletes spend two to three months at the higher altitudes to enhance their performance and when they compete at a lower altitude, they perform better than others. Because their bodies can cope better than others, their stamina is better than others.

    There is no Sherlock Holmes, Angela Lansbury or Alfred Hitchcock to solve this mystery, until more work is done, however, the 'Nandrolone Mystery' will remain unsolved. So, it appears that the PCB wanted to show to the world that they have a justice system and they don't care who violates the law - he who does so - must be punished.

    The reality is there is no justice system, the PCB has off the cuff management and everything is done on ad-hoc basis and by a bunch of jokers and bureaucrats who always find an escape goat for saving their own skin. Like someone said on this Blog....'watch out next on the list is Inzamam ul Haq". The new PCB chairman, instead of defending his players was accusing Inzi in front of the Senate Committee that despite our so many attempts to calm down Inzi he was not listening to anyone. Bravo Inzi you are a man of principle and guts, the whole nation was supporting you then and will always support you. This new Chairman of PCB is taking this approach because he is also being questioned by the media as he was present that day at the Oval cricket ground. In order to survive he must blame someone and Inzi is the best escape goat now.

  • Irfan Liaqat on November 2, 2006, 9:24 GMT

    Well Mr. Kamran you might have a point there about legal representation. But as I read through the PCB's statement, PCB did offer this to the players. As far as, doping is concerned both players seem to be guilty.

    But after looking at this case my concerns are that allot of consultants or trainers at physical training centres (or gyms) prescribe performance enhancement drugs quiet often. What PCB or ICC is doing at this frountier, because allot of future or current players will come from these kind of places.

    This also points to another factor, that is, ICC's Anti-Doping Policy should be known to public, especially in countries like Pakistan where academies are far-&-few and most of the players are on their own.

    As far as career of Shoaib & Asif is concerned, in light of PCB's history, I think their careers are over. We have seen stars disappearing before, such as Mushtaq Ahmed (who doing extremely well of English county), Azhar Mahmood (we hear time to time about him), and yes Saqlain Mushtaq (who can bowl pehla, doosra, & teesra with allot of control).

  • sameen on November 2, 2006, 9:17 GMT

    I am shocked that the punishment given to shoaib akhter is the same it would ave been if ICC had carried out these tests what advantage did the player have on having a test carried out internally. It's just PCB showing off that they are a well-developed, organized and strict organization.

  • Salim on November 2, 2006, 9:13 GMT

    This is again a point of proving to the world that we have an inferior complex and the British Raj still rules our minds!!! Point 1. PCB has no mandate for dope testing Point 2. The players had no formal defence Point 3. The Jude and Jury were selected by PCB who have no mandate for fair and open-trail Point 4. After the Oval fiasco PCB wants the world to love them Point 5. The new man at the top wants to stamp his authority and welcomes the BAN We are the only country in the world that harms and hurts our nationals for the share pleasure of other countries just have a look at whats happening near the Afghan border we are killing our own to please our masters...so why should a sacrifice of two cricketers be any different.

  • T. Khan on November 2, 2006, 9:12 GMT

    The timing of the tests is a bit awkward. It’s a power play. The score: PCB administrator 2, players 0.

  • Azfar Shirazi on November 2, 2006, 9:11 GMT

    I totally agree with karim s.PCB have not proved that they have taken banned substances intentionally and if they had to be banned for 2 and 1 year then there was no reason to call them back frm the championship the ICC would had given them the same punishment. but as PCB could not prove that they have taken banned substances intentionally they shold have given them less punishment of around 4 months so they could play the world cup.i think its just stupid frm PCB. PCB again showed that it is the most mismanaged organisation the world. they could have showed at least some leniency.

  • Imran Ahmed Butt on November 2, 2006, 8:43 GMT

    SAD ... very SAD day for cricket and for Pakistan . Whether Shoaib is innocnet or guilty , whether it was his fault or the management or the board or the government or his doctors/physicians etc etc . Bottom line is Cricket has lost a great legend ,a great hero , a great player .... forever . Cricket wont be very exciting without him ... running like a POWERFUL HORSE to the crease and seeing the the 'face of fear' even on the most 'fearless batsmen' ... Nop ... you wont be seeing such stuff anymore .. We will MISS you SHOAIB aka 'Bad boy' aka 'Show man' aka 'Play boy' aka 'THE RAWALPINDI EXPRESS'. sigh

  • HotHead on November 2, 2006, 8:32 GMT

    Credibility for Dr? Naseem Ashraf at the cost of Pakistan Cricket - a debut gift from the previous chairman...

    Secondly, Muddled waters? Yes!! But this is not the end of story....

    Remember Munir Niazi:

    ik waari jud shoor'oo ho jaavay tay gul fir aiv'ain muuk de na'ee

    jo hoya eh hona ee see tay honee rokiy'aan ruuk de na'ee

    Enjoy the circus!!!!

  • Saqib on November 2, 2006, 8:13 GMT

    Kamran,

    PCB did set a good tradition in banning the two so called " Culprits ". But this single judgement cannot rule out the suspicions that PCB doesnot have tbe maturity to handle crisis.

    Has the PCB made sure that every player knows which drugs he is to take or avoid. The Captain doesnt know the cricket rules... let alone the drugs to avoid.

    If the team doctor asked Asif not to take them anymore in recent past. Did he make sure that Asif should not get a positive dope test. Did he not felt that Asif need to be thoroughly inspected in the training camp.

    PCB now claims that it stands for " Justice shall be swift... it shall be just .. .and it shall be without mercy " but fails to do any major struggle for Inzi... where they feel they have done the right thing. What have they done to make sure we get a constant pool of players who are worthy for international eleven.

    PCB's and teams management actions are immature .. they come hasty as well. No accountability no coordination ... between anybody ... the management is lost . .so are the players....what are we doing ... i see a dark future for Pakistani Cricket unless things are streamlined...

    "Attendance of shoaib at a lecture on anti-doping is a proof the he and asif knew which drugs to take" my foot ... stop treating everybody like a graduate and start thinking urself responsible ... oh PCB managment... what a waste ... my heart is crying ... Pakistan has lost its gems... surely an almighty waste Kamran..

  • Cricket Fan on November 2, 2006, 7:57 GMT

    I think the thing about doping by Akhtar and Asif is a conspiracy by PCB. Before the doping scandel, there were some issues with captancy and I think they wanted to get rid of Akhtar and Asif. It is sad to see the all time most lethal fast bowler end his career.

  • zameer uddin on November 2, 2006, 7:50 GMT

    To me this will be blessing in disguise and time will prove it inshallah. I think Pakistan will perform lot better in coming word cup as compared to last one if they keep Inzi as captain because we do not have superstars now. We know our limits and we will perform with in those limits like we did when we visited India last time. Because these superstars just play for themselves and they do not have any national pride. Its lot better to have line and length bowler rather than having express pace stupid remember way he bowled against India during last world cup. May be you call me as over optimistic but I still believe we can perform well in coming world cup the only thing we need to do is sit together analyses our resources and plan according to them. We just need unity in our team and self believe we still have enough talent.

  • karim s on November 2, 2006, 7:30 GMT

    My appeal to anyone and everyone who has the power to fix this. This blog might not be the most effective place, but its a start. I also ask those Pakistanis who have not already appealed, to please do so. -------------------------------------- To Whom it May Concern

    I am a Pakistani, I am a follower of Pakistan Cricket, and I have been deprived of justice.

    Recently, two members of our national cricket team were accused of intentionally violating Cricket’s Anti-Doping Laws. Subsequently, a tribunal constituted by the Pakistan Cricket Board found them guilty of the alleged act, and suspended the players for one and two years respectively.

    I have no problems suspending cricketers who have cheated for life, let alone two years. However, we as a nation have a responsibility to make sure that any accused, but especially our national heroes are subjected to due process of law before they are given draconian punishments such as this.

    In any legal proceeding, an accused must be given adequate legal representation. Even if the accused voluntarily elects to lead his defense (this was not the case), it is the court or tribunal’s responsibility to make sure legal counsel is still assigned to aid him. This is the procedure followed by any impartial court within and outside Pakistan. In the tribunal constituted by the PCB, Mohammad Asif had absolutely no representation and Shoaib Akhtar was defended by his doctor, not a lawyer.

    The tribunal stated that the “We gave a full chance to both the pacemen to fight their cases and after a thorough inquiry we feel they failed to prove their innocence”. What legal proceeding requires an accused to “prove” their innocence? The burden of proof always lies on the accusers, and the degree to which that burden must be fulfilled depends on the stakes. When a person’s liberty is at stake, the burden of proof must be fulfilled “beyond all reasonable doubt”. Here the stakes are the livelihood of two individuals, and the dreams and hopes of an entire nation.

    Several international athletes have been cleared after testing positive for Nandrolone. The simple fact is that urine testing alone is not conclusive evidence that performance enhancing drugs were taken with malice.

    As a Pakistani, a cricket follower, and a stakeholder in this case, I demand that the players be granted a fair and open re-trial in accordance with the laws and constitution of Pakistan, and the principles of natural justice. If then found guilty, by all means show the world that we do not condone cheating. However, right now we have shown the world we do not condone justice, we do not condone the rights of an individual, and we do not condone Islam which clearly lays out the rights of an accused and demands due-process. The only solution is an impartial re-trial.

    Once again, I am a Pakistani, I am a cricket follower, and I demand justice.

  • Najam on November 2, 2006, 7:24 GMT

    Yes Kamran,

    But I am surprised why both players not opt for good lawyer and I think PCB management (specially our "Broad mind Doctor" should also insists both players and help them in hiring a good laawyer and sheheryar khan did in oval case). This is total stupidity of PCB, they should not be given credit of such action but they should be given credit of making these actions, instruting not to offer pray but you may go clubs, trying to keep best batsman of the world out and the most ineligible players as captain. I think Asif and Shoaib must file an appeal asap to remove this stain and further please change the Doctor , we may survive with patient but not with "Doctor"

  • Awais Misri on November 2, 2006, 7:10 GMT

    O, and one more thing;

    The NewZealanders including Fleming were never given any harsh sentences and neither were any of the S.Africans (including Kemp, Gibbs et al) for smoking marijuana and cannabis...i know they are not performance enhancing, but why does the PCB always act in this manner to impress the "white" people, I mean, even in the match fixing thing, Warne and Waugh's involvement was coevered up whereas Paksitan gave life bans to Malik and Rehman and had Wasim disallowed from being captain. Why, i ask, why, does the PCB have such an inferior mindset?

    please, if possible add this to my other, first comment

    Thanks,

    Awais Misri

  • Arif Khan on November 2, 2006, 7:07 GMT

    Lawyer or no lawyer, they were punished for doing something wrong. Fair enough. I dont believe that Shoaib didnt know what he was taking. He appears to speak English pretty well, and I am assuming he can read an understand it ably. There is absolutely no justification for his behaviour. Lastly, you can lay the blame wherever you wish, but the fact of the matter is that it was Shoaib and Asif who took the drugs, not Shahryar, Nasim Ashraf or anyone else. The players are the ones who are representing Pakistan on the field, and not the PCB personnell, so its their own responsibility. Even if you remove Nasim Ashraf now, its not going to change the fact that Shoaib and Asif took nandrolone.

  • Zafar Qidwai on November 2, 2006, 7:03 GMT

    Yes definitely the decission is too hard to accept. You are right to sy that PCB wnats to show the world how honest we are, and in the process has damaged Pakistan cricket to no limit. I think after that incidence Pakistan cricket is standing at the same point wher it was just after the 2003 Wordcup.All the hardwork of Inzamam & Co has now gone to waste as we now have an avergae bowling attack.

    Some other countries also performs doping tests for their players but we never heard of any positive test through these internal tests. I think some questions may be asked about some players power they show during the hitting the ball out of the park and while throwing the ball.

  • Sandeep Nair on November 2, 2006, 6:58 GMT

    Read through all the earlier comments and fair call to them. Only a small sentence in the corner of a newspaper report on this issue is still stuck in my head. It seems both Shoaib and Asif declined to provide B samples to corroborate the findings of the early samples tested positive for Nandrolone. This would have been enough to convince their biggest advocates of the presence of a certain smelly rat in the proceedings..

  • Omar Haq on November 2, 2006, 6:53 GMT

    The tests prove that they had steroids from an external source. Whether or not they knowingly doped is besides the point. The WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) clearly states that players are responsible for what they are tkaing into there own bodies.

    What stood out glaringly while I read the report was the bridge between the players and the administrators. The thorough, well researched report presented by the tribunal was in stark contrast to Shoaib Akhtar's listing of his protein cocktails, and Asif's complete ignorance of drug laws.

    Incidents like these are so indicitive of the cricketing culture in Pakistan. The players are usually poor and don't get paid much. They don't understand English, the language of the game internationally. They don't have international experience. They don't have the facilities and the domestic system reflects all these shortcomings.

    So what happens when these cricketers suddenly have ot give press conferences, give urine samples, sign documents, read lists of banned substances, live in hotels abroad, experience night clubs abroad. It's just a massive change for people who are not ready for it and things will go wrong. Everyone knows education is the problem in Pakistan, so I won't keep harping on abou that...but I will say that I am no the least bit surprised that incidents such as these happen with us, Pakistan.

    When you have players, who unfortunately have very little exposure to the world, to other cultures, to education and to the system, you breed players of 'passion'. What you don't get is professional athletes.

    There is nothing that can be done about it, atleast for now....Shoaib is done for, the PCB handled this well, the players are banned and they deserve it. Drug tests don't lie and they will now pay the consequences of their mistake(?).

    One thing can and should help, however. The PCB really needs to to be more involved in player development and education right from the grass roots level.

  • Ali on November 2, 2006, 6:48 GMT

    Kamran. Wake up! Nasim Ashraf & PCB saw this crisis as an opportunity to establish their non-existant credibility - even at the expense of 'due process'. They have decided to wreck the careers of two great bowlers (who may be guilty but still deserve a fair trial), in the interest of legitimising the totalitarian PCB regime. Yet another case of administrative shambles that Pakistan Cricket has become!

  • Karim S on November 2, 2006, 6:45 GMT

    I completely agree with Kamran Abbassi's views. I have absolutely no problem having two of our premier bowlers being suspended for life (let alone 2 years) if you can prove they intentionally violated anti-doping laws. However, having a former governor of Punjab try them is ridiculous. It does not show we are an honest nation, it shows we are autocratic nation with no respect for the rights of the individual. The PCB has time and again showed that it is probably the least professionally run institution in the country. I have no doubt that the PCB made the decision solely out of fear of facing the wrath of the ICC.

    If we have any sense of honor as a nation, we should do everything we can to make sure our cricketers are given a fair and open re-trial.

    The "tribunal" declared that the reason for their decision was that Shoaib and Asif could not "prove" their innocence. In any sane society it is not the accused's responsibility to prove their innocence. The burden of proof ALWAYS lies on the prosecutors/plaintiff. The degree of the burden depends on the stakes:- a trial where an athelete's career, and a nation's hopes are on stake should have a burden of proof equivalaent to a criminal trial.

    The simple fact is that urine testing has not proven to be conclusive evidence that Nandrolone was taken intentionally in violation of various anti-doping laws.

    Once again, it is our responsibility as a nation to ensure that our cricketers receive a fair re-trial. There is strength in numbers -- let's use it. If there are enough appeals to His Holiness - Pervez Musharaff we can make a difference. Even if we dont, at least we can take solace in knowing we demanded justice.

  • Khalid Hameed on November 2, 2006, 6:26 GMT

    No matter what, the tests are positive and levels very high suggesting deliberate intake. What puzzels me is that the test was voluntary, if Shoib & Asif knew that they were taking steriods why did they have to take the tests now.....this probably makes me wonder that they might have done this inadvertently, what is the half life of these agents, what I mean is how long once taken do they keep on causing the tests to be positive.Dont get worked up, looking at our history we do well once the noose tightens and it can not get tighter than this.

  • Usman Tahir on November 2, 2006, 6:20 GMT

    Let nobody fools themselves that this is about drugs, had the same trial taken place when shahryar khan was PCB chief results might have been different. We have a new PCB chief who is out to prove how they will right all wrong (precieved or otherwise) and shake things up, this was a perfect oppurtunity for them. It has nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with polictics, be warned next on the list is Inzamam, after failure in world cup he will be axed to or even before.

    There is no doubt in my mind that both these guys deserved a ban, but this self righteousness is amusing, shane warne was banned for one year for a similar offence, no one raised a hue and cry about this then.

    Nothing will come out of this except the fact that pakistan suffers as a team, this was an internal matter and could have been handled as such that it didnt hurt the team but was a lesson for individual themselves, why not a 2 year financial censure, and knowing shoaib that would have hurt him more. As expected however, PCB will be hailed as "FAIR" when they are as much to blame.

  • DR. A. Khan on November 2, 2006, 6:15 GMT

    The present predicament illustrates the unprofessional state of affairs conducted by the PCB during the past decade. Give the fact that more than 50% percent of Pakistani players are not proficient in the use of English language, the onus was on PCB official to educate players regarding the potential use of banned drugs and its implications, and about the rules of cricket. It is interesting to note that the team is coached by a foreign coach who uses English to communicate with the team. One can well imagine the effectiveness of communications/coaching when using a foreign language is a main hurdle.

    The past and present heads of PCB are all opportunist figures who do not know an iota of iota about cricket. Like all other domains of government, PCB too needs professionals and not mediocres.

    Since Shoaib and Asif were recovering from major injuries it is plausible that they might have taken medicines which could have contained steroids. PCB should have given them the benefit of the doubt and should have ordered fresh tests to be conducted. It is also very unprofessional of PCB tribunal to indulge in character assassination of Shoaib. Both players ought to hire lawyers and take the PCB to the court to claim their innocence.

  • Jamil on November 2, 2006, 6:02 GMT

    Well Kamran, I donot agree to your conclusion that whole process has not been ' Fair'. Had it been the case that Shoaib and Asif were ' All Clean' then they could have gone for B tests. In addition, the questions are: Why did not Asif have the services of a top lawyer if he was ' The Innocent Guy from Village' even after the committe adviced him the same and in shoaib's case How can he not produce or remember the list of so-called herbal medicinces which he used with the advice of a ' Mysterious Hakeem'... i think this Hakeem disappeard after prescriving those herbals. Let's admit there was something fishy going on and the decision is really hard to swallow but fair one.

    However, i am really upset and angry at seeing the personal information about Shoaib. What this information has to do with this case??? It is totally unfair with him.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 2, 2006, 5:48 GMT

    Kamran, You can be as knit-picky as you like and argue for argument's sake. Had the verdict been otherwise, you would have blamed the PCB nonetheless for unethical behaviour. Instead of being an honest journalist, you're deliberately the devil's advocate here. No matter what, the fact remains that these two cricketers used performance enhancing drugs. They did not contest the test results. They did not really contest anything else. Shoaib, in particular tried to come up with some of the most ridiculous reasons in his defense. Taking "Kushta" for sexual enhancement...I mean c'mon man. There's a limit to letting yourself and your country down. We know all too well what kind of influence he was on the rest of the team. He is a man who has no regard for his teammates, his fans, and his country. PCB has been for too long providing him cover for his stupid behavior. It will prove to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan cricket that he is no more around.

  • Awais Misri on November 2, 2006, 5:44 GMT

    I still beleive the PCB is stupid! Very very very stupid at that. Does the PCB not care about winning the world cup? The one thing we had been "re-building" for, since the 2003 debacle. Does the PCB want a repeat of that for the sake of credibility in the eyes of the ICC. I feel the PCB should have told the ICC to lay-off, and played the 2 after a one-month ban! Who cares about what the ICC and other countires think! Its about winning the world cup! The 2 should have been told to not use the substances again, matter closed, and Pakistan would have had a chance at the Cup. I mean, making the millions of the country following the team happy, is more important than punishing 2 idiot cricketers. And about shoaib's sex and alcohol life being revelaed. Well its his life, what's the problem in someone having some fun in life? You can't expect everyone to be a Mohammad Yousuf or an Inzamam. Its between Shoaib and Allah, but I am pretty sure the judges also used that to judge him as well. All in all, a sorry state of affairs, and the tribunal has just put Pakistan off the cricketing map for a minimum of 2 years, or until another fast bowler stands up and takes his chance, but with the likes of Gul, Rao, Sami, Rana and co. being either dibbly-dobbler medium pace or untuned radars at 90mph's...i see Pakistan plummeting to maybe 6th or 7th in the ICC rankings and possibly even losing a few games to the Bangladeshi's. For the betterment of Pakistan cricket, bring shoiab and asif back is what i feel. Since when have we been a fair nation in the 1st place? everyone form the President and the PM to the smallest police "hawaldar" is corrupt, so why not carry on with the tradition here and keep our chnaces of a 2nd world cup alive???

    Awais Misri

  • Sami on November 2, 2006, 5:31 GMT

    Both players have the right to appeal. They also could have asked to re-test their samples but they did not. Asif was let go easily so did Shane Warne. Both players were given enough chances to defend themselves. If two adults choose to come to tribunal and say I dont know how this ingredient was found in my body then nobody can do nothing to help them. Atleast they didnt make a fool of themselves like Shane Warne by blaming their mother's homemade soup. You cant call the verdict muddle. I could only hope that other boards will follow PCB's footsteps.

    What is muddle is...why in that report they have to mention Shoaib's biceps, smoking, drinking, sexual activities. What is it that they were trying to prove? What muddle is...PCB's policies regarding banned substances. Asif has been playing for the team for couple of years why he was not given proper information. What PCB is doing so that an incident like this never happens again.

    I would like to take it a bit further. What PCB will do to educate its players on banned substances? What are other cricket boards doing to educate and test their players?

    What exactly ICC will do besides randomly testing two players out of 15 from each team in events held by ICC? I do not want cricket to become a drug mess that baseball became in last 15 years. I do not want batsmen walking out of the pavillion looking like Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi. Idiots on Steriod.

  • Hamid on November 2, 2006, 4:40 GMT

    As far as the PCBs handling of the Shoaib-Asif case is concerned, there can't be any disagreement. For once they've done it right. Unfortunate as it may be, I would be stretching my imaginations too far to think they did it in ignorance, especially Shoaib who has been around long enough to be wisened on these matters. Even for Asif, it would be hard to believe that he took it unkowingly. In any case, let's consider this a lesson learned the hard way.

  • MCMLXXXII on November 2, 2006, 4:32 GMT

    You can't blame the PCB for this. The tribunal did say that they had advised the players that they were entitled to a lawyer and Asif insisted in representing himself while Shoaib chose his doctor to represent him. It is the player's own fault, the PCB is not responsible for them not choosing to be represented by their lawyers. To me, this was a fair hearing, and miles ahead of previous PCB appointed hearings.

  • sam on November 2, 2006, 2:23 GMT

    whoa Mr. Javed whoa buddyy. hold on a second. what are you trying to say here? tell me one good reason why would shoaib and asif would sue them?? this is the least punishment these two should get. i am still wondering why didn they banned asif for 2 yrs?

  • JAVED A. KHAN FROM MONTREAL, CANADA on November 2, 2006, 2:02 GMT

    I do not want to start my post by saying YES KAMRAN you are right and I agree with your views.

    I am as angry as any educated person in our country is about the outcome of this unfair which you call it a quasi-legal, I would call it a dictatorial, totalitarian rule of authority named as a legal process or a tribunal, which is nothing more than farce Military Court under the Martial Law Authorities. There was no hearing, no legal representation and the victims were uneducated, ignorant and dumbfounded idiots, so-called HEROES of our country.

    If I was in their place ( I wouldn't have landed in a situation like this through awareness) still assuming that I was in their place, I would have represented myself through a lawyer and even if found guilty by this so-called tribunal I would have sued them. How come Linford Christie, Mark Richardson, Dougie Walker, Merlene Ottey, Dieter Baumann ALL top class atheletes were cleared by IOC on charges of testing positive for Nandrolone? What klnd of pride PCB takes in telling the world that we are a VERY FAIR and HONEST Country and we punish our atheletes on testing positive for Nandrolone? PCB are the most "disgustipatingly" pathetic organization of our country. I simply wish Shoaib and Asif sue them. Without providing the rule book in their national language how can they punish them for breaking the law? In that case WADA and ICC should penalize PCB.

  • David Furrows on November 2, 2006, 1:37 GMT

    Frankly, the outcome is a relatively good one. In hindsight it is glaringly obvious how both players have bulked up, and to be honest both deserved 2 year bans according to the rules.

    Shoaib is a great player - when fit, and is that due to drugs? - but is a disruptive influence in the extreme, and almost certainly he led Asif into this sorry affair.

    Asif is lucky that he can be portrayed as the village idiot and given a reduced term. He actually technically deserves the full 2 years, but, let's face it, Pakistan needs him in the medium and long-term whereas Shoaib's refusal to see sense and shorten his run-up have left him a prematurely geriatric fast bowler, whose body is never fit enough to last a series.

    I'm saddened though that the PCB included gratuitous information about Shoaib's sex life and drinking in the release. His actions over time discredit himself enough: he really didn't need the boot put in too given that the verdict was going to end his career anyway.

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  • David Furrows on November 2, 2006, 1:37 GMT

    Frankly, the outcome is a relatively good one. In hindsight it is glaringly obvious how both players have bulked up, and to be honest both deserved 2 year bans according to the rules.

    Shoaib is a great player - when fit, and is that due to drugs? - but is a disruptive influence in the extreme, and almost certainly he led Asif into this sorry affair.

    Asif is lucky that he can be portrayed as the village idiot and given a reduced term. He actually technically deserves the full 2 years, but, let's face it, Pakistan needs him in the medium and long-term whereas Shoaib's refusal to see sense and shorten his run-up have left him a prematurely geriatric fast bowler, whose body is never fit enough to last a series.

    I'm saddened though that the PCB included gratuitous information about Shoaib's sex life and drinking in the release. His actions over time discredit himself enough: he really didn't need the boot put in too given that the verdict was going to end his career anyway.

  • JAVED A. KHAN FROM MONTREAL, CANADA on November 2, 2006, 2:02 GMT

    I do not want to start my post by saying YES KAMRAN you are right and I agree with your views.

    I am as angry as any educated person in our country is about the outcome of this unfair which you call it a quasi-legal, I would call it a dictatorial, totalitarian rule of authority named as a legal process or a tribunal, which is nothing more than farce Military Court under the Martial Law Authorities. There was no hearing, no legal representation and the victims were uneducated, ignorant and dumbfounded idiots, so-called HEROES of our country.

    If I was in their place ( I wouldn't have landed in a situation like this through awareness) still assuming that I was in their place, I would have represented myself through a lawyer and even if found guilty by this so-called tribunal I would have sued them. How come Linford Christie, Mark Richardson, Dougie Walker, Merlene Ottey, Dieter Baumann ALL top class atheletes were cleared by IOC on charges of testing positive for Nandrolone? What klnd of pride PCB takes in telling the world that we are a VERY FAIR and HONEST Country and we punish our atheletes on testing positive for Nandrolone? PCB are the most "disgustipatingly" pathetic organization of our country. I simply wish Shoaib and Asif sue them. Without providing the rule book in their national language how can they punish them for breaking the law? In that case WADA and ICC should penalize PCB.

  • sam on November 2, 2006, 2:23 GMT

    whoa Mr. Javed whoa buddyy. hold on a second. what are you trying to say here? tell me one good reason why would shoaib and asif would sue them?? this is the least punishment these two should get. i am still wondering why didn they banned asif for 2 yrs?

  • MCMLXXXII on November 2, 2006, 4:32 GMT

    You can't blame the PCB for this. The tribunal did say that they had advised the players that they were entitled to a lawyer and Asif insisted in representing himself while Shoaib chose his doctor to represent him. It is the player's own fault, the PCB is not responsible for them not choosing to be represented by their lawyers. To me, this was a fair hearing, and miles ahead of previous PCB appointed hearings.

  • Hamid on November 2, 2006, 4:40 GMT

    As far as the PCBs handling of the Shoaib-Asif case is concerned, there can't be any disagreement. For once they've done it right. Unfortunate as it may be, I would be stretching my imaginations too far to think they did it in ignorance, especially Shoaib who has been around long enough to be wisened on these matters. Even for Asif, it would be hard to believe that he took it unkowingly. In any case, let's consider this a lesson learned the hard way.

  • Sami on November 2, 2006, 5:31 GMT

    Both players have the right to appeal. They also could have asked to re-test their samples but they did not. Asif was let go easily so did Shane Warne. Both players were given enough chances to defend themselves. If two adults choose to come to tribunal and say I dont know how this ingredient was found in my body then nobody can do nothing to help them. Atleast they didnt make a fool of themselves like Shane Warne by blaming their mother's homemade soup. You cant call the verdict muddle. I could only hope that other boards will follow PCB's footsteps.

    What is muddle is...why in that report they have to mention Shoaib's biceps, smoking, drinking, sexual activities. What is it that they were trying to prove? What muddle is...PCB's policies regarding banned substances. Asif has been playing for the team for couple of years why he was not given proper information. What PCB is doing so that an incident like this never happens again.

    I would like to take it a bit further. What PCB will do to educate its players on banned substances? What are other cricket boards doing to educate and test their players?

    What exactly ICC will do besides randomly testing two players out of 15 from each team in events held by ICC? I do not want cricket to become a drug mess that baseball became in last 15 years. I do not want batsmen walking out of the pavillion looking like Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi. Idiots on Steriod.

  • Awais Misri on November 2, 2006, 5:44 GMT

    I still beleive the PCB is stupid! Very very very stupid at that. Does the PCB not care about winning the world cup? The one thing we had been "re-building" for, since the 2003 debacle. Does the PCB want a repeat of that for the sake of credibility in the eyes of the ICC. I feel the PCB should have told the ICC to lay-off, and played the 2 after a one-month ban! Who cares about what the ICC and other countires think! Its about winning the world cup! The 2 should have been told to not use the substances again, matter closed, and Pakistan would have had a chance at the Cup. I mean, making the millions of the country following the team happy, is more important than punishing 2 idiot cricketers. And about shoaib's sex and alcohol life being revelaed. Well its his life, what's the problem in someone having some fun in life? You can't expect everyone to be a Mohammad Yousuf or an Inzamam. Its between Shoaib and Allah, but I am pretty sure the judges also used that to judge him as well. All in all, a sorry state of affairs, and the tribunal has just put Pakistan off the cricketing map for a minimum of 2 years, or until another fast bowler stands up and takes his chance, but with the likes of Gul, Rao, Sami, Rana and co. being either dibbly-dobbler medium pace or untuned radars at 90mph's...i see Pakistan plummeting to maybe 6th or 7th in the ICC rankings and possibly even losing a few games to the Bangladeshi's. For the betterment of Pakistan cricket, bring shoiab and asif back is what i feel. Since when have we been a fair nation in the 1st place? everyone form the President and the PM to the smallest police "hawaldar" is corrupt, so why not carry on with the tradition here and keep our chnaces of a 2nd world cup alive???

    Awais Misri

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 2, 2006, 5:48 GMT

    Kamran, You can be as knit-picky as you like and argue for argument's sake. Had the verdict been otherwise, you would have blamed the PCB nonetheless for unethical behaviour. Instead of being an honest journalist, you're deliberately the devil's advocate here. No matter what, the fact remains that these two cricketers used performance enhancing drugs. They did not contest the test results. They did not really contest anything else. Shoaib, in particular tried to come up with some of the most ridiculous reasons in his defense. Taking "Kushta" for sexual enhancement...I mean c'mon man. There's a limit to letting yourself and your country down. We know all too well what kind of influence he was on the rest of the team. He is a man who has no regard for his teammates, his fans, and his country. PCB has been for too long providing him cover for his stupid behavior. It will prove to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan cricket that he is no more around.

  • Jamil on November 2, 2006, 6:02 GMT

    Well Kamran, I donot agree to your conclusion that whole process has not been ' Fair'. Had it been the case that Shoaib and Asif were ' All Clean' then they could have gone for B tests. In addition, the questions are: Why did not Asif have the services of a top lawyer if he was ' The Innocent Guy from Village' even after the committe adviced him the same and in shoaib's case How can he not produce or remember the list of so-called herbal medicinces which he used with the advice of a ' Mysterious Hakeem'... i think this Hakeem disappeard after prescriving those herbals. Let's admit there was something fishy going on and the decision is really hard to swallow but fair one.

    However, i am really upset and angry at seeing the personal information about Shoaib. What this information has to do with this case??? It is totally unfair with him.

  • DR. A. Khan on November 2, 2006, 6:15 GMT

    The present predicament illustrates the unprofessional state of affairs conducted by the PCB during the past decade. Give the fact that more than 50% percent of Pakistani players are not proficient in the use of English language, the onus was on PCB official to educate players regarding the potential use of banned drugs and its implications, and about the rules of cricket. It is interesting to note that the team is coached by a foreign coach who uses English to communicate with the team. One can well imagine the effectiveness of communications/coaching when using a foreign language is a main hurdle.

    The past and present heads of PCB are all opportunist figures who do not know an iota of iota about cricket. Like all other domains of government, PCB too needs professionals and not mediocres.

    Since Shoaib and Asif were recovering from major injuries it is plausible that they might have taken medicines which could have contained steroids. PCB should have given them the benefit of the doubt and should have ordered fresh tests to be conducted. It is also very unprofessional of PCB tribunal to indulge in character assassination of Shoaib. Both players ought to hire lawyers and take the PCB to the court to claim their innocence.