Shah suspended for anti-doping breach

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The leg-spinner has been charged with a breach of the ICC's anti-doping code.

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the International Cricket Council has announced.

The 29-year-old provided a sample which was found to contain chlortalidone, a banned diuretic, following Pakistan's second one-day international against England in Abu Dhabi on November 13.

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Shah has been charged with a breach of the ICC's anti-doping code and will face disciplinary proceedings.

A statement from the ICC added: "In accordance with the ICC Anti-Doping Code, pending the outcome of the disciplinary process, Yasir has been provisionally suspended."

Shah, who has played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs, bowled nine overs in the match but did not take any wickets as England won by 95 runs.

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Windies collapse on day two with Australia closing on huge win

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West Indies collapsed on day two.

Steve Smith and Adam Voges made it four first-innings centurions for Australia before West Indies suffered a dramatic batting collapse as the hosts emphatically pressed home their advantage on day two of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Smith and Voges resumed on Sunday with Australia 345 for three, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja having notched hundreds on Saturday, and continued to punish the lacklustre Windies attack.

Smith was 134 not out and Voges unbeaten on 106 when the captain declared on 551 for three with an hour left of the afternoon session.

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The home attack then showed their visitors there was some movement in the pitch, as the Windies crumbled from 35 without loss after tea to 91 for six at stumps.

James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle each snared two wickets apiece to leave the tourists – who lost the first Test by an innings and 212 runs – a massive 460 runs behind with just four first-innings wickets still standing.

The Windies began Sunday with a ball still fairly new and desperate to make inroads, but rarely looked like finding a breakthrough.

It was not the greatest batting spectacle, but the runs flowed steadily on a highly satisfactory day for Australia.

Smith became the leading run-scorer in Tests this calendar year, while Voges moved past the 1000-run mark in his debut Test year and improved his career batting average against West Indies to 542.

Voges offered half a chance on 56 when he thick-edged a slower delivery from Test debutant Carlos Brathwaite towards first slip, but Darren Bravo – diving to his left – was unable to get to it and it ran away for four.

Smith, earlier this week named ICC Cricketer of the Year, completed his 13th Test hundred by picking up two runs off the part-time off-spin of Kraigg Brathwaite.

Thirty-six-year-old Voges followed his skipper in reaching three figures – his fourth Test ton – soon after with a neat flick to the right of mid-on off the bowling of Kemar Roach. Australia were 527 for three at that point, and the declaration came two overs later.

West Indies’ opening pair Kraigg Brathwaite and Rajendra Chandrika negotiated the 14 overs before tea without too much drama, and were 33 without loss at the interval – still trailing by a daunting 518.

But their stand was broken by the seventh ball of the evening’s play, Brathwaite (17) inside-edging a tossed-up delivery from off-spinner Lyon straight to Burns at forward short leg.

Pattinson got himself among the wickets soon after, with two lbw scalps in as many overs. He first snared Chandrika for 25 with a reverse-swinging ball and then exposed Marlon Samuels’ lack of footwork before he could trouble the scorers as he tried in vain to defend.

Jermaine Blackwood had to endure a nervous wait when, on 18, the umpires reviewed a low catch by Burns at short leg off the bowling of Siddle.

Burns dived to his right, but the umpires decided it was not taken cleanly and Blackwood breathed a sigh of relief.

The 24-year-old Jamaican looked to have been set on making the most of his reprieve when he skipped down the track from the first ball of the following over and lofted Lyon over mid-off for six, but the off-spinner had his revenge four balls later when he dismissed the batsman caught and bowled.

That was not the end of the procession back to the Windies changing room either, with Siddle dismissing Denesh Ramdin and Jason Holder for ducks off successive deliveries at the start of the 41st over.

Carlos Brathwaite (three not out) kept out the hat-trick ball and he and Darren Bravo (13no) helped the away side through to the close without any more setbacks, but Australia will be hoping to wrap up the Windies’ first innings quickly on day three.

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Same old habits for Indian cricket team

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Use #360view to have your say on today's topic.

A two-faced persona of Indian cricket has emerged in recent times. On the one hand, the tried and tested cricketers have been persisted with time and again, even welcomed back after years in the wilderness. On the other, the hopefuls for the future have largely been given the cold shoulder. Selective patience has been the order of the day. For players who lie outside the core group of cricketers, chances to impress have come at a premium — and almost every such break has an air of finality to it.

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Parvez Rasool, for instance, was tried out in one low-key match last year and has not been in contention since. Some players, such as Rishi Dhawan in the past and Gurkeerat Singh Mann in the latest series against South Africa, were selected in various squads but never fielded. Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, was not only recalled after three years but also played for India in all three formats in 2015. It is one thing to struggle to break into the starting XI due to fierce competition within the ranks but an altogether different one to keep missing out due to a captain’s aversion towards experimentation.

Cast your mind back to the World Cup earlier this year. Skipper MS Dhoni used only 12 players, the lowest by any captain, across India’s eight matches. In fact, he would’ve probably used only 11 had Mohammed Shami not picked up a knock. Even against Zimbabwe in the final group game, when Dhoni could’ve easily opted to rotate his squad with top spot in the pool already confirmed, he selected an unchanged line-up — thus depriving Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel and Stuart Binny of a World Cup cap.

Dhoni has been guilty of such short-termism over a lengthy period of time. He has regularly backed his favourites to the hilt but has rarely been open to change. Binny and Rayudu, in particular, have been treated with contempt by the skipper right from the word go. Events Down Under only rammed home the point. Granted, the country’s obsession with the sport means that every single match, however trivial, has a lot riding on it but it is up to the leaders to see the bigger picture and protect its long-term interests.

The selection committee, which decides the squad for each tour, hasn’t covered itself in glory either. A World Cup generally marks the end of a four-year cycle or, conversely, the beginning of a new one. A perfect time to bed in new players. Yet, for the Bangladesh tour, which was India’s first series post the World Cup, the selectors retained virtually the entire squad (only Shami missed out due to injury). The result was obvious: Dhoni simply brought Bhuvi back into the side and the rest of the XI remained the same as the one which got knocked out in the semi-final almost three months earlier.

It was only after suffering an embarrassingly heavy defeat in the first ODI in Dhaka that the skipper decided to shake things up and give his entire squad a go. That too was more of a backlash against his underperforming first-teamers than a genuine chance for the reserves to stake their claims. Irrespective of the intent behind it, India’s backup players at least played a part.

They did the same on the tour to Zimbabwe in July when Ajinkya Rahane led a second-string Indian side in three ODIs and two T20Is. However, unlike previous experimental teams to the African nation, an exciting jack-in-the-box flavour was missing from the squad. Instead, recalled players were given priority over youngsters who could be groomed for the future. Harbhajan, Murali Vijay and Robin Uthappa (as wicketkeeper) returned to the shorter formats after several years away from the national team. And, except for Bhajji missing out in the second T20I, all three played the full tour.

Meanwhile, two young, exciting talents in wicketkeeper Sanju Samson (20) and Sandeep Sharma (22) only featured in one and two T20 matches respectively. Sandeep was ignored by Rahane and Co. throughout the ODIs even after the series was in the bag, while in his one-off appearance Samson didn’t get to keep wicket. Manish Pandey, the country’s sole ODI debutant this year, only got a look-in after Rayudu was injured midway through the tour.

During the South Africa series, with India grabbing an unassailable 2-0 lead, Gurkeerat or Lokesh Rahul could’ve been drafted in for the fourth and final Test. But maintaining recent tradition, Kohli opted to stick with an out-of-sorts Rohit Sharma. Gurkeerat also didn’t feature in any of the five ODIs against the Proteas but in somewhat meek defence of Dhoni, the series was a tight affair that went down to the final game.

India’s most recent squad for the tour to Australia does offer a welcome change, however. Although inclusions of 36-year-old Ashish Nehra and 34-year-old Yuvraj Singh have offered us a blast from the past, the likes of Pandey, Barinder Sran, Dhawan and Hardik Pandya have been added to the mix alongside young guns Axar and Gurkeerat.

You cannot ignore, though, the obvious desperation in a move which comes only a few months ahead of the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and the World T20 on home soil. It is a consequence of poor long-term planning. Instead of new faces being gradually tested against easier opponents in familiar conditions, they’ve been thrown in for a challenging tour Down Under.

If Indian cricket were to make a resolution ahead of the New Year, it should be to conjure up the patience to give the country’s next generation of stars a sustained run in the first team.

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