Pakistan Cricket Board today banned its two prime bowlers from international cricket on doping charges. Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd. Asif were handed two year and one year ban respectively for having tested positive in the Champions trophy, 06 for nandrolone. Such a stringent measure comes as a surprise to many because this virtually seals the fate of Pakistan cricket’s bad boy Shoaib Akhtar. Having been banned for two years from playing or being associated with cricket in any form for these two years, this means he will be able to make a comeback at the ripe age of 37!This is a near impossibility but one never knows! Also the severity of the punishment goes against the interests of the Pakistan Cricket team as the ban keeps these two players out from playing for the country. One would have expected a ban of lesser severity for the two players since the matter was under the jurisdiction of the PCB. But I think that even the PCB is tired of being in the news for all the wrong reasons and thought that the time had come to ACT!
Mohd. Asif’s one year ban from playing cricket for Pakistan too is a blow for the nation and for the player too although it seems he would make a comeback after serving the ban. By serving this ban, PCB has protected the interest of the game which has been plagued by several worries, from match fixing to ball tampering. By punishing Shoaib Akhtar, a strong word has been sent to the players- that no individual is above the game and this game needs to be played in the best of spirits and in a fair manner- devoid of malpractices.
A bold move and a strong message not only for Pakistani cricket but also to the cricketing nations of the world- to weed out such practices from the grass root level and ensure that cricket stays a game of the gentlemen!