PCB mulls dope testing T20 World Cup-bound squad

Thursday, July 12, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to conduct internal dope tests on the players included in Pakistan’s preliminary squad for this September’s Twenty20 World Cup.
A PCB official said on Wednesday that the Board is seriously considering the idea of carrying out dope tests on all the 30 players in the provisional squad later this month.

By carrying out internal dope tests, the PCB wants to avoid any fresh doping scandal after having recently managed to finally bury the drug controversy involving their top strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

The pace duo tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone last September and was pulled out of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy squad while the tournament had just began in India. The withdrawal proved fatal for Pakistan who were knocked out of the opening rounds of the contest. Later, Pakistan, still without Shoaib and Asif, were knocked out of the World Cup opening rounds in the Caribbean this March following a shock defeat against Associate members Ireland.

Shoaib and Asif were initially banned for substance abuse but a PCB appeals committee later cleared them, a verdict that was challenged by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed the case saying that it has no jurisdiction.
The PCB official conceded that the doping scandal caused a lot of damage to Pakistan cricket which is why the PCB plans to make it sure that this kind of incidents do not happen in the future.

He said that the PCB anti-doping policy was now WADA compliant and any players testing positive for banned substances in the future will have to face strict sanctions.

The official said that the final decision on whether to conduct internal dope tests ahead of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup would be taken by the PCB ad-hoc committee which meets in Karachi on July 16.

Pakistan have recently announced a 30-man provisional squad for the Twenty20 World Cup and would select their final team for the assignment next month during a training camp in Karachi. Shoaib and Asif, who avoided dope tests ahead of the World Cup apparently for the fear of testing positive, are included in the preliminary squad.

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