Shoaib Akhtar has once again pleaded innocence in the doping scandal, saying one or a combination of the nutrition supplements he has been taking could have caused the Nandrolone levels to go up. He also argued that the supplements were not banned, hence his ban be overturned.
Shoaib was banned for two years from all cricket on November 1 by a Pakistan Cricket Board tribunal after testing positive in an internal doping test conducted by the Pakistan team just before the Champions Trophy.
"I maintain I have done nothing wrong," Shoaib told AFP. "Don't stop me from playing cricket; my whole career is at stake."
He said he had told the tribunal that they should ban the supplements, which are available in the market before they ban him.
Shoaib has lodged an appeal, which will be heard by a committee comprising of former judge Justice Fakhruddin Ibrahim, former Test player Haseeb Ahsan, and doping expert Dr Danish Zaheer.
"The nutritional supplements like Promax-50 and Nitron-5 are not banned even in World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list and I don't know if they have produced Nandrolone in my body," Shoaib said. He said the doping expert Dr Abbas Rizvi had told the tribunal as much.
Shoaib had undergone twin knee operations in February this year and had missed Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka and Test series in England due to recurrence of an ankle injury. "They should have considered my medical condition; I have gone through dozens of operations and have taken hundreds of medicines to heal up injuries. I am not a doctor and don't know much about medicines.
"There are certain herbal medicines that are not banned and I have been taking them. Greg Rusedski was cleared even though his levels of Nandrolone were higher than mine," said Shoaib, who had been tested twice in the past. Rusedski, the British tennis player, had been cleared after testing positive for Nandrolone in 2004.
Shoaib said there was very little awareness about doping in Pakistan cricket. He had attended just one doping seminar conducted by the PCB in 2002. "The seminar merely told us how to give urine samples, how to close the bottle carrying samples and it did not tell anything about what we have to take and what we can't. Since 2002 a lot of new nutritional supplements have been introduced and are available in the market."
As for the allegation by a team official that Shoaib had slapped coach Bob Woolmer during Champions Trophy in India, the fast bowler said it was all rubbish. "I am already down with doping case. This is a rubbish and baseless story, I can never think of misbehaving with my elders and this is an attempt to gain cheap publicity," he said.