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Shoaib and Asif face anxious wait Shoaib and Asif tribunal to start
(2 days later)
A hearing for Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who have tested positive for nandrolone, is unlikely to take place until next week. Suspended Pakistan bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif could attend a doping tribunal as early as Saturday.
Former captain Intikhab Alam, lawyer Shahid Hamid and an as yet to be named doctor will form a three-man tribunal to handle the case. The pair tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone and were sent home from the Champions Trophy in India, but their B samples have not been examined.
Shoaib and Asif could face a ban of up to two years and are facing an anxious wait to learn their fate. Pakistan Cricket Board operations director Salim Altaf said a preliminary hearing would start on Saturday, though it was not clear where it would be.
However, it could drag on further if they dispute the samples' findings. He said: "There is a possibility that Shoaib and Asif will appear."
"We know these two samples have been found to be positive, there could be various reasons for that and we want to find out what has happened," said PCB director of cricket operations Salim Altaf. Shahid Hamid, who represented banned player Salim Malik during a match-fixing inquiry in 1998, is expected to chair the tribunal. Former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam will also appear.
"It is up to the tribunal to find that out and make a judgment; it is an independent tribunal and the PCB will adopt whatever that tribunal sees fit." Doping expert Waqar Ahmed, the medical director of the Pakistan Sports Board, has been appointed as the third and final member of the panel.
Shoaib and Asif were sent home from the ICC Champions Trophy after the positive tests, which were carried out three weeks ago, were confirmed. The tribunal is expected to take two weeks to return its findings and recommendations to the PCB, which will then take a final decision.
Pakistan are one of five Test nations who are signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency protocol. Under International Cricket Council doping rules the penalty for a first doping offence is a ban of two years.
Because the tests were carried out before the ICC Champions Trophy, it is the PCB which will decide what punishment to hand down and not the ICC. However, it is up to the PCB to make an initial ruling on a term of suspension, as the test was carried out by them, not the ICC.
The PCB does not have its own sanctions but could follow the ICC's regulations, which would mean a ban of two years for the bowlers.
The tribunal will comprise of a former Test cricketer, a lawyer and a sports doctor.
"This has never happened to us before and there are grey areas for all of us," added Altaf.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is missing the ICC Champions Trophy because he is serving a four-game ban, said it was right the players were withdrawn.
"The PCB took the right decision in calling them back," said Inzamam.
"I am sure they didn't take any banned substances intentionally.
"But if they had tested positive in the ICC tournament, it would have been a very difficult situation for everyone."