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News

Woolmer summoned by doping tribunal

Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has been summoned by the tribunal investigating doping charges against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

Osman Samiuddin
Osman Samiuddin
28-Oct-2006


'The idea for holding internal dope tests was Woolmer's' © Getty Images
Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has been summoned by the tribunal investigating doping charges against Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. Darryn Lifsun, the team physiotherapist, and Murray Stevenson, the trainer, have also been summoned.
Shahid Hamid, a renowned barrister who is chairing the three-man tribunal which includes Intikhab Alam and medical expert Dr Waqar Ahmed, told Cricinfo that the three are most likely to appear on Wednesday.
"They are part of the team management and we would like to know their thoughts on this very important matter. They work with the players closely so speaking to them is important. Without hearing their views, it would be tough to reach a conclusion."
The idea for holding internal dope tests was Woolmer's, and the tests were held soon after the team returned from the tour to England.
Shoaib and Asif, who were pulled out of Pakistan's squad for the Champions Trophy on the eve of their opening game, were cross-examined by medical experts on Saturday. Both bowlers have said they will not challenge the results of their positive tests for nandrolone carried out in a WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) laboratory in Malaysia, and declined to have their B samples examined.
It emerged, in the immediate aftermath of the scandal, that the PCB had suspected Shoaib of substance abuse. Shaharyar Khan, the ex-chairman, told an Indian TV channel that he had suspected this was the case for several months. Additionally, rumours had circulated among journalists of this very problem.
But Hamid was adamant that media reports and such speculation would have no influence on the inquiry. "We will rely entirely on the basis of the evidence presented before us and nothing else. Newspaper or TV reports, rumours and speculation will play no part in this."
Though reluctant to put a precise date on when a verdict is likely, Hamid revealed that it would be soon after Woolmer and his team appeared. "I cannot give an exact date but I imagine it would be very shortly after they have appeared." That raises the possibility of a verdict by the end of next week.
Both bowlers face, potentially, a two-year ban, the minimum for a first offence under ICC doping rules. However, the PCB said it will make its own decision on any punishment since the tests were conducted internally.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo