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Will do best to save Yasir Shah's career, insist PCB

Chlorthalidone, a banned substance in the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of masking agents was found in the leg spinner's urine sample.

Yasir Shah in action

Pakistani leg spinner Yasir Shah has been provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for failing a dope test conducted on November 13 during Pakistan’s one-day series against England at the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was tested positive for chlorthalidone, a diuretic used to treat hypertension. The 29-year-old had to appeared before a medical panel set up by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards doping on 28th December.

"In accordance with the ICC Anti-Doping Code, pending the outcome of the disciplinary process, Yasir has been provisionally suspended," a statement released by the ICC said.

A statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board released in December said, "Pursuant to receipt of the notice of charge issued by ICC to Shah, PCB will examine the circumstances surrounding the alleged charge and shall fully assist the ICC in arriving at a fair and just outcome."  

Yasir, however, established that he had taken the medicine unintentionally for a high blood pressure ailment and there was no intention of consuming some banned substance.

Shah had proved himself as a match-winner in test cricket and achieved the highest ranking in the same format. Shah had taken 49 Test wickets this year, including 24 in Pakistan's 2-1 series win in Sri Lanka and 15 in two of the three Tests against England. Last year, he took 12 wickets to help Pakistan beat Australia 2-0 and emerged as replacement for Pakistan’s long-time superstar spinner Saeed Ajmal. Shane Warne had expressed his willingness to practise with him, impressed by the talented youngster’s performance.

A PCB official said that they have decided to not ask the ICC for a sample B test. The PCB would appeal to the ICC against the ban instead.

Najam Sethi, the chairman of PCB’s executive committee has said that the board would support the spinner in this case. However, the idea, he pointed out, is to try and get the minimum suspension period for Yasir so that he is available to play for Pakistan as soon as possible.

"We will do our best to ensure Yasir gets the best possible help and his career is saved," Sethi said.

Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif had been banned previously by the ICC on charges of doping. Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman was banned more recently for six months by the ICC for using a banned substance in English county cricket.

Yasir faces a ban that could range between six months and four years.   

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