Pak appoint Alam for doping tribunal

Karachi, October 18:

Pakistan on Wednesday appointed former Test captain and coach Intikhab Alam and a renowned lawyer to sit on a tribunal that will hear doping charges against bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

A third member, a doctor with doping expertise, will be appointed on Thursday meaning that the hearing could start possibly as early as this week, PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said. The tribunal will be chaired by barrister Shahid Hamid, who represented former Pakistan player Salim Malik during a match-fixing inquiry in 1998 but left midway through the case. Malik was given a lifetime ban in 2000.

New-ball pairing Akhtar and Asif were sent home from the Champions League in India on Monday after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone. They are waiting for the results of ‘B’ samples.

“Shoaib and Asif are likely to appear before the tribunal later this week,” cricket chief Ashraf told a press conference in the southern city of Karachi. “On the recommendation of the tribunal and of the overall findings we will take action. The responsibility is on the alleged offenders (to prove their innocence) because it is an individual act,” he said.

The minimum penalty for a first doping offence under the ICC rules is a two-year ban but ICC chief Malcolm Speed had told the PCB the punishment was an “internal affair”, Ashraf said.

But the PCB chief sounded a note of caution over earlier comments by medical experts that the two bowlers could claim the nandrolone in their samples was produced through exercise or diet.

Ashraf vowed on Tuesday to take a zero tolerance approach to doping, while adding that Akhtar and Asif would be allowed to fight their cases through checks on ‘B’ samples.