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Akhtar, Asif out of the world cup

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  • Akhtar, Asif out of the world cup

    Pakistan's doping-tainted pace bowling stars Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are out of this month's World Cup, averting possible controversy at cricket's showpiece tournament.

    Chief selector Wasim Bari said the new ball pair were ruled out because of injury and would be replaced by Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Sami.

    "Their injuries will take another two weeks to heal so after consultation with (captain) Inzamam-ul-Haq we have taken the final decision," Bari said on the eve of the squad's departure for the Caribbean tournament.

    Their omission came on the same day the ICC issued a statement admitting the game had been greatly embarrassed because the pair had been able to continue playing despite positive drug tests last year and confirmed it would target players for testing at the World Cup.

    The ICC statement from CEO Malcolm Speed followed Australian opener Matthew Hayden's description of the pair's inclusion in the Pakistan's World Cup squad as "ludicrous".

    Akhtar and Asif were both reported to be in England having their injuries reassessed.

    Akhtar, who has played just one test and four one-dayers since last February due to fitness concerns, has been unable to recover from a knee injury that forced him to be sent back from South Africa last month.

    Asif has been carrying a niggling elbow problem since that tour. Neither will be fit enough to participate in the World Cup which starts on March 13.

    There had also been uncertainty over whether they would take mandatory Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) doping tests ahead of the World Cup.

    "This is not an ideal situation for us. We are leaving for the West Indies under tremendous pressure," Inzamam said.

    "But we have shown in the past that through team spirit we can overcome any crisis situation. Mohammad Sami and Arafat may not be as good as Akhtar and Asif but they'll try their level best to make up for the loss."

    Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer described the news of their withdrawal as a "huge blow" while captain Inzamam said Pakistan would now travel to the tournament under "tremendous pressure".

    Akhtar and Asif initially received lengthy bans from the PCB after testing positive to the steroid nandrolone during internal tests last year.

    But their cases were overturned by the board's appeals committee on the grounds that neither had been advised about the risk of taking vitamin supplements which may have caused the positive results.

    The ICC said it was unable to intercede as its own anti-doping code - which is World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) compliant - only governs ICC events.

    "Both Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif have played for Pakistan over the past few months despite testing positive for prohibited substances last year," Speed said in the ICC statement.

    "That is a fact neither player has disputed and it is also a fact that has caused the game a high level of embarrassment as a result.

    "We want to make absolutely sure that all players who take part in the ICC Cricket World Cup do so on the basis that they are free from banned substances.

    "From an ICC perspective, having the option to target test as well as the already-scheduled (random) tests in place means that if a player does have anything in his system then there is a very strong possibility he will be caught out."

    Hayden acknowledged the case of the Pakistan pair had been a talking point among the Australian team.

    "It's a laughable point amongst our players because we've worked very hard to be clean athletes," Hayden said before the team flew out to the Caribbean.

    "It's ludicrous and it's not fair.

    "If someone's tested positive for a steroid, then they have to have the penalties of the game."

    WADA chairman Dick Pound said the world anti-doping body was to appeal the Akhtar and Asif cases.

    "We went to the International Cricket Council and said, look, you should control what your national organisations are doing and they, for some reason or another, were reluctant to do anything so we said fine," Pound told Sydney radio station 2KY.

    "In that case we will exercise our right of appeals as WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

  • #2
    due to these players, pakistan lost opportunity to qualify for super 8's . Akthar has the pace and asif can swing the ball both ways. Both are definitely a great asset to pakistan. Unfortunately the batting also let them down in Ireland match. They are now out of the tournament. Im an indian, i like to see pakistan vs India final, but god plans differently these two great cricketing nation didnt qualify even for SUPER 8.


    • #3
      Akhter and asif are very good player in pakistan team so withour akhter and Asif pakistan team is so weak so he lost opportunity to qualify for super 8's.