The recent exit of two Pakistani fast bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Md. Asif from the prestiguous ICC Champions trophy on dope charges came as a shock to many people around the world. But was it really a shock?
The two bowlers were tested positive for consuming a banned drug nandrolone which enhances the performance of the players who consume the drug. Not only does it help them in training hard, it also reduces their fatigue levels.
The two players were whisked off in a hurried fashion a day before the team played its first match against Sri Lanka which it won in an emphatic manner. But the question that lingers around is, what does one make of this entire issue?
I feel that this was a calculated move by the Pakistan Cricket Board to ‘find’ the players guilty on charges of dope consumption. A calculated and worked out move, this ensured that the International Cricket Council was outside the issue and had virtually no say in the matter. This also brought the issue under the sole jurisdiction of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
This means the Board would have the final say in this issue. The dynamics suggest that given the World Cup in 2007, the board could place a short ban and ensure that the extent of the punishment is minimal. This would ensure that the two bowlers are available for the World Cup in 2007.
Saving from greater damages
Had the ICC found the players guilty the extent of the damage would have been much more severe and the players could have faced a one year ban from Internation Cricket as Shane Warne did. So the Pakistan Board made the gamble of taking them out of the Champions Trophy and ensuring that they are available for the World Cup!
With regard to infamy, one could say that Pakistan Cricket has taken it in its stride!! Be it match fixing controversy or ball tampering allegations which have engulfed the team, the team has had a brush with controversy time and time again. So such an issue should not bother them as they have learnt over a period of time to live with them.
With these allegations coming to the surface, finally its cricket that has suffered. But such acts and the players involved if proved by investigations should be severely reprimanded to protect the interest of the sport and also to ensure that no other player commits such an act.