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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 12:31 GMT
Flak flies in Pakistan drugs case
ICC president Percy Sonn
I would now urge all ICC full members to ensure appropriate action is taken so cricket can show just how committed it is to being known as a drug-free sport

Percy Sonn
The International Cricket Council has criticised the way in which the doping case involving Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif was handled by Pakistan.

An appeal tribunal lifted bans imposed on the two fast bowlers after they tested positive for a banned steroid.

But ICC president Percy Sonn said the judgement highlighted "inconsistencies" in Pakistan's anti-doping processes.

A member of the appeals panel also believes the pair should be tested again before they resume their careers.

The appeals were upheld by a 2-1 majority, but Dr Danish Zaheer, the panel member who voted against clearing the pace pair, said: "The PCB should set aside all the previous inquiries conducted following the charges against Shoaib and Asif and opt for fresh dope tests."

Shoaib was originally banned for two years and Asif for one year but both claimed the steroid, nandrolone, had been present in supplements they had used.

In a 30-page ruling, the panel accepted neither player had knowingly taken drugs.

Commenting on the decision, South African Sonn said: "Cricket has taken significant strides forward in addressing the important issue of drug use in our sport.

"However, this judgement emphasises that much more work needs to be done to educate players and to synchronise our members' efforts to attain a totally drug-free sport."

Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif
The appeal committee voted 2-1 in favour of lifting the ban

He added: "It is vital that cricket takes heed of the judgement and that the lessons it provides are disseminated amongst all our members.

"Of primary importance is that all those members revisit their own regulations and align them both with the ICC's anti-doping code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code."

Pakistan Cricket Board president Dr Naseem Ashraf has insisted his organisation support a tough line towards drugs.

"Many lessons have been learned and the PCB stands by its zero tolerance policy regarding the drug abuse and hopes that the theme of 'playing true' will be followed by all cricketers in its true letter and spirit," he commented.

But Wada spokesman Fredevic Donze described the appeal tribunal's verdict as "unreasonable".

Former Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja has also voiced concern that the rest of the cricket world will see the lifting of the bans as "eyewash".

"I think they have messed up the whole issue and once again Pakistan is in focus for the wrong reasons," he said.

Former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammed, meanwhile, said Pakistan had been made a laughing stock by the affair.

"There was no need for this whole doping drama," he said.

"A competent committee was chosen to deal with the guilt and now suddenly the second committee overturned the ban."

Shoaib and Asif are now free to play for Pakistan again but have not been chosen for Thursday's one-day international against West Indies in Faisalabad.



SEE ALSO
Pakistan duo win drugs ban appeal
05 Dec 06 |  Pakistan
Shoaib & Asif wait for comeback
05 Dec 06 |  Pakistan
Rawalpindi one-dayer washed out
05 Dec 06 |  Cricket
Q&A: Nandrolone
16 Oct 06 |  Health


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