Afghanistan's Shahzad handed suspended 12-month ban for doping violation

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Shahzad will be eligible to play cricket again in Jaunary, 2018.

Afghanistan wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been handed a 12-month suspension from all cricket related activities after he pleaded guilty to breaching the ICC’s Anti-Doping Code.

The Afghan cricketer had failed an ICC out-of-competition testing progamme in Dubai on January 17, 2017.

Shahzad’s sample was subsequently found to contain traces of clenbuterol after testing. The drug is classified as a non-specified substance under the World Anti Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List.

The wicketkeeper-batsman admitted to the violation and has been handed a suspended sentence which started on the day he failed his dope test.

Hence, Shahzad will be able to return to cricket in over a month on January 17, 2018.

The 29-year-old had stated that he had inadvertently ingested the substance as a contaminant for a weight-loss programme he was undertaking at the time.

The ICC has accepted this reasoning from the Afghan player while making its final assessment, leading to a much more lenient sentence than the maximum four-years Shahzad could have been suspended for.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to doping, and reminds all international cricketers that they remain personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put into their bodies does not result in an anti-doping rule violation,” ICC General Manager Geoff Allardice said in a press release on Thursday.

“It further serves as a reminder to all international cricketers of the dangers and risks associated with taking supplements. Before thinking about taking a supplement, cricketers should weigh up the risks and dangers of doing so and should fully research the supplement in question so they can make an informed decision” the statement from Allardice added.

Shahzad has been an integral part in the rapid rise of Afghanistan over the past few years which has seen them being awarded with a full ICC membership in July this year, hence making them eligible to play Test cricket.

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Kohli rises to No2 in the ICC Test rankings after extraordinary series against Sri Lanka

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Kohli scored 610 runs in five innings in the Sri Lanka series.

Following his remarkable series with the bat against Sri Lanka, India’s Virat Kohli has made a huge jump in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen.

The 29-year-old has risen from the sixth spot to now occupy the No.2 position in the rankings behind Australian skipper Steve Smith.

Kohli score a stupendous 610 runs in five innings in the three-match series at a staggering average of 152.50 to take the man-of-the-series award. He had recorded back-to-back double tons in India’s 1-0 win to overtake Brian Lara’s record of five double tons as Test skipper.

No other Indian batsmen apart from the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have more than Kohli’s six double hundreds in the format.

The Indian skipper is already perched at the top spot in ICC’s rankings for the ODI and T20I batsmen.

The Delhi-born man has had a dream 2017 with the bat where he has scored 2,818 runs in international cricket with the help of 11 tons across all formats.

The Indian batsman now lies ahead of his English counterpart Joe Root in the Test rankings with team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara maintaining his fourth spot.

Kohli now has 893 ranking points, 45 behind Smith who has 938 points. He leapfrogged David Warner, Kane Williamson, Pujara and Root in the course of the series.

Only former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has held the top spots in all formats simultaneously in the history of the game while his compatriot Mathew Hayden has done it on separate occasions.

Kohli has never taken the No.1 spot in the Test rankings in his career so far.

India meanwhile continue to lead the team rankings with 124 points, 13 ahead of South Africa whom they visit for a bilateral series at the end of the year.

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Indian Medical Association urges organisers to take pollution into consideration

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The IMA said it was greatly troubled by the scenes in the final Test at Delhi.

Cricket organisers must take pollution into account before allowing matches to go ahead, the Indian Medical Association told the country’s governing body for the sport Thursday, after a smog-plagued Test match in New Delhi.

The IMA said in a letter to the Indian cricket board it was “greatly troubled” by scenes of players wearing masks to protect themselves from air pollution many times the global safe limit during the third test match between India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi.

Two players vomited on the pitch, and play had to be halted briefly.

“Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of lung and heart disease and may precipitate an acute potentially life-threatening event,” it said in a letter to the Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI) seen by AFP.

“When pollution levels are this high, everyone including healthy persons may experience some level of discomfort,” said the letter, signed by IMA president K.K. Aggarwal.

Pollution should be taken into account before allowing play to proceed in much the same way as for rain and poor light, he added.

The BCCI said after this week’s debacle at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium that the Indian capital could be dropped as a venue during winter, when pollution levels tend to spike.

Two players vomited on the pitch due to the discomfort.

Two players vomited on the pitch due to the discomfort.

“The BCCI has been sensitive on the smog and fog matter over the years,” the board secretary Amitabh Choudhary said.

Copies of the IMA’s letter were also sent to India’s chief justice and the International cricket Council (ICC), which would have to approve any such changes.

Sri Lanka have made no official complaint but their coach Nic Pothas said earlier it wasn’t normal for players to suffer in that way.

“I think it’s the first time that everybody has come across that situation,” he said after the first smoggy day’s play.

“There aren’t too many rules regarding pollution.”

Provided by AFP Sport

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