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November 2, 2006
Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar are likely to appeal against the bans handed to them by the Pakistan board-appointed drug tribunal.
Asif told Cricinfo he would appeal against the decision to ban him for a year and said that he couldn't explain the presence of nandrolone in his urine sample. "I will appeal against this. I don't know how this has happened. I wasn't even aware of the dope test and I was the one who gave it first."
The tribunal's verdict revealed that Asif had been using a protein supplement, Promax-50, but stopped using it as soon as he was told to do so by Darren Lifsun, the team physiotherapist. It is thought possible that this was the cause of the positive sample. "Obviously I am very disappointed about what has happened. I had no idea."
The case for Asif's ignorance may be strengthened in light of the tribunal's finding that the board has not played a satisfactory role in ensuring that its players are suitably cautioned and advised about such issues.
Shoaib, facing a two-year ban, has not made any official statement as of now but sources close to him have confirmed that he will also appeal. One source believes a strong enough case exists to lighten the ban.
Tauseef Razzaq, Shoaib's doctor, also said that Shoaib was devastated by the decision and would definitely appeal against the ban. "There are a number of examples where athletes were given the benefit of the doubt for using substances unknowingly and there are studies by renowned universities of the world on whose basis Akhtar should have been cleared," Razzaq told AFP, referring to Shoaib's claim last month that he had not knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs.
The PCB has stated that a new tribunal will be set up in case the players appeal, as seems likely now.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.