Ashraf talks tough

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf has declared his organisation will take a zero tolerance approach to doping, but still allowed duo Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif to fight their cases through checks on their ‘B’ samples.

Nasim Ashraf talking tough...but not too tough

“We have zero tolerance as doping is a very serious thing and we would deal with it in a flawless manner,” Nasim Ashraf told reporters.
“But we will give every chance to our players,” he added.

Ashraf took over two weeks ago when previous chairman Shaharyar Khan quit in a row over the team captaincy.
Pacemen Akhtar and Asif tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone Monday and were immediately called home from the Champions Trophy in India, adding another chapter to Pakistan cricket’s chaotic recent history.

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, the minimum ban for a first doping offence is two years, but since the tests were conducted internally by the PCB the home board is responsible for punishment.

Akhtar and Asif  in action
Akhtar and Asif  in action

Akhtar and Asif  in action

He did not outline any proposed punishment.
The chairman clarified that the players ‘B’ samples were yet to be tested, contrary to his statements on Monday in which he said Pakistan had received “reconfirmation” of the positive results.

“When we were told about the positive tests on the ‘A’ samples of both the players, we actually asked for reconfirmation of the ‘A’ samples themselves. The second sample is yet to be examined,” he said.
World Anti-doping Agency rules state that the ‘B’ sample is only examined after alleged offenders appeal against the results of the first test.

The second sample is then examined before the players. 

The two Pakistani cricketers have not yet lodged an appeal.
Ashraf said the PCB would give Akhtar and Asif its full support.
“They are our best players and we would give them a full chance  to give their viewpoint when they appear before the doping  tribunal,” assured Ashraf, who added a lawyer, doctor and a former  cricketer were likely to be named in the tribunal soon.

Possible excuses
Meanwhile, Sports Medicine Association of Pakistan president Danish Zaheer said there were possible excuses for the two pacemen.

The stars now under a different spotlight
The stars now under a different spotlight

The stars now under a different

“Nandrolone is normally taken under medical supervision as it is used in injectable form but recent theories suggest this substance is naturally produced in athletes’ bodies,” Zaheer said in a  statement from Brunei.
Zaheer, also a vice president of the Asian Federation of Sports Medicine, said Akhtar and Asif can be helped to avoid penalties.

“Both players can claim that they have bodies that normally produce such banned substances more than the prescribed quantity — that is a possible theory.
“A good doping expert can exploit loopholes in the system,” said Zaheer.

Source: AFP