Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad facing three-month ban for reportedly failing dope test

Waseem Ahmed 21/06/2018
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Shehzad is reportedly the Pakistan player to have failed the dope test.

Pakistan opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad risks facing a three-month ban from international cricket at least after testing positive in a dope test, according to a report by Pakistan media outlet Geo News.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday confirmed that a national team player had violated the anti-doping laws of the ICC but refrained from naming him due to legal issues.

“A player has reportedly tested positive for a prohibited substance. But under ICC rules PCB cannot name the player or chargesheet him until the chemical report is CONFIRMED by the Anti-Dope Agency of the government. We should have an answer in a day or two,” Pakistan cricket’s governing body had stated in an official statement.

According to the report by Geo News, sources have informed that Shehzad is the player who failed the dope test.

The opening batsman now faces the prospect of being handed a three-month ban at the minimum for violating ICC’s anti-doping laws although he reserves the right to give a second sample test.

The 26-year-old has played 13 Tests, 81 ODIs and 57 T20Is for his country in his career so far. He was part of the Pakistan T20I squad which recently beat Scotland 2-0 in the two-match series.

Shehzad had registered scores of 14 and 24 in the two matches.

The opener is not the first Pakistan player to violate the anti-doping laws after leg-spinner Yasir Shah was banned for three-months in 2016 after pleading guilty to the charge. Earlier, the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Abdul Rehman and Reza Hasan have all been guilty of failing dope tests.

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Pakistan cricketer reportedly tests positive for banned substance

Waseem Ahmed 20/06/2018
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The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday said one of its players has tested positive for a prohibited substance.

However, the board said it can’t name the player under current rules of the ICC which require a confirmation of the chemical report from the national anti-doping agency.

“Under ICC rules PCB cannot name the player or chargesheet him until the chemical report is confirmed by the Anti-Dope Agency of the government. We should have an answer in a day or two,” the PCB tweeted.

In the past, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar and Yasir Shah have been suspended for doping violations.

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Progress report of Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and other Pakistan 2017 Champions Trophy winning stars

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Fakhar Zaman (l) and Shadab Khan.

It has been one year since Pakistan defeated India by 180 runs in the 2017 Champions Trophy final. Not many gave Pakistan a chance as they had just about qualified for the tournament.

Then in their first match of the tournament in England, Pakistan lost to India by 124 runs which lowered expectations to next to zero. But thereafter, Pakistan staged a stunning turnaround by defeating South Africa, Sri Lanka and England to reach the final. There, they came up with the best performance of the tournament as Fakhar Zaman hit a mesmerising century to help Sarfraz Ahmed’s men post 338 for four before pace ace Mohammad Amir snared the scalps of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to seal the match and the title.

So where are Pakistan’s Champions Trophy heroes now? We take a look at their performances.

Fakhar Zaman

New Zealand v Pakistan - 4th ODI

The sky seemed to be the limit for the left-handed batsman after his stunning assault in the final. But Zaman hasn’t set the stage alight in white ball cricket since. In nine matches, Zaman has scored 298 runs at an average of 37 with two fifties. It’s decent but not great when you look at the top four batsmen in the same period – Rohit Sharma, Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan and Jason Roy – are all averaging around 50 or more.

His T20 record has improved, scoring 342 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 140. Zaman picked up a thigh injury in New Zealand in January.

Hasan Ali

The right-arm fast bowler has improved an already impressive ODI bowling record. Since the Champions Trophy, where he was the star of the tournament for Pakistan with his pace and explosive celebrations, Hasan has taken 20 wickets in nine matches at an economy of 4.8.

He has done equally well in T20s, taking 13 wickets in 11 matches even though the economy is a bit high – 8.1.

However, the pacer got into a bit of a tangle early in the year when captain Sarfraz Ahmed admonished him during the second T20 in New Zealand and he shrugged his skipper off.

Shadab Khan

CRICKET-SCO-PAK-T20

Arguably, the biggest gain for Pakistan in all formats in the last 12 months. The leg-spinner has quickly developed into an all-condition bowler and his batting has come up by leaps and bounds.

In 10 ODIs since the CT final, Shadab has picked up 15 wickets with an improved economy of 4.5 and average of 24. In T20s, he has 17 wickets from 14 matches at a slightly more expensive economy of 6.6.

However, it’s his batting that has been really good. Shadab scored three critical fifties in three successive Tests against Ireland and England to emerge as one of the more promising all-rounders in the world.

Sarfraz Ahmed

It has been quite a ride for the Pakistan skipper. While he has taken Pakistan to the top of the T20 rankings, the team has been decent in ODIs and unpredictable in Tests. In the last 12 months, Pakistan have won two and lost three Tests, won five and lost as many ODIs. It included a 2-0 Test series defeat to Sri Lanka in the UAE.

Their T20 record is brilliant with 12 wins from 14 matches.

Personally, Sarfraz has been poor in ODIs, averaging an abysmal 14. The Pakistan team is still in a rebuilding phase and there will be tougher challenges ahead, the main one being consistency in all formats.

Mohammad Amir

The left-arm pace ace is beginning to show signs of fatigue. Playing non-stop in all formats since his comeback in 2016, Amir has started to manage his workload and has even talked about playing fewer Tests in order to prolong his career. He endured a knee injury and shoulder pain during the Ireland and England Tests, underlining his importance to the team.

His bowling figures for the last 12 months are not that impressive. In five Tests, Amir has picked up 13 wickets and has just two wickets in four ODIs (5.1 econ). His T20 record is excellent – 13 wickets from seven matches at an economy of 5.88. Maybe that’s the way forward for him.

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