ICC satisfied with Shoaib and Asif's ban

The ICC was satisfied by the judgement of the drug tribunal which banned Shoaib Akhtar for two years and Mohammad Asif for one year after they tested positive for banned substance anabolic nandrolone, according to Percy Sonn, the ICC President.

Sonn issued a statement after the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Anti-Doping Commission released its report on the charges against Shoaib and Asif.

"It is a tragedy that the careers of two cricketers have been tarnished in this way but, at the same time, the judgement emphasises that cricket has a zero tolerance of drug use", said Sonn. "It is a good judgement, well written, very professionally done and they have made constant reference to the guidelines laid down in the PCB's anti-doping code."

Sonn said that the idea behind the ICC adopting the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code in July this year and enforcing drug-tests on players at all ICC events since 2002 was to make cricket a sport with zero tolerance for use of drugs.

"The PCB has done extremely well in handling this matter in such an efficient manner and its strong stand against doping is a fine precedent," he said, urging those Full Members of the ICC who haven't already initiated it to adopt a regular policy of testing their players.

But Imran Khan, the former captain of Pakistan, felt that though an example needed to be set for future generations to stay away from drugs, the ban itself was very harsh and would severely reduce Pakistan's chances in World Cup in March next year.

"Both Akhtar and Asif are experienced, wicket-taking bowlers and their absence means Pakistan will be without key strike bowlers," said Wasim Bari, Pakistan's chief selector, echoing Imran's views. Javed Miandad, the former captain and coach of Pakistan, said that it was important now to have an emergency plan for the World Cup while Rashid Latif, former wicketkeeper, felt that the different sentences passed on Shoaib and Asif were passed as an attempt to end Shoaib's career.

Jalal-ud-din, the former Pakistan fast bowler, was among the few who defended the tribunal's decision. "The PCB was under pressure to take a strict decision or else the outside world would have criticised. I think players should appeal and get some relaxation," he said.