Pakistani cricketer tested positive for banned substance

New Zealand v Pakistan - 2nd T20
New Zealand v Pakistan - 2nd T20
Aditya Joshi

In what has been a week of on-field cricket controversies with the whole Sri Lankan ball-tampering saga and the aftermath unfolding, there is now an off-field matter of concern. An eminent Pakistani cricketer has allegedly tested positive for a prohibited substance. While international cricket protocols prevent the explicit naming of the said cricketer until the absolute confirmation of the test reports, Pakistan Cricket Board's Twitter account revealed the heart of the matter, without breaching the confidentiality norms.

As per reports sourced by Cricbuzz, the alleged player is stylish opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad. The 26-year-old was tested positive during the Pakistan Cup, the country's domestic five-team one-day tournament, held from April 19 to May 1, where he represented Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, incidentally the eventual winners. Shehzad, who has been out of favour with the team selectors, scored 372 runs in the tournament at 74.40, with three centuries and a half-century.

Having been made to sit out for the home series against West Indies despite being in the squad, Shehzad was called up to the British Isles to open alongside Fakhar Zaman in the two T20Is against Scotland, given the unavailability of Babar Azam, who sustained a fractured wrist.

Shehzad has been horribly out of form in international cricket, he has not been able to feature in a test match since April 2017, after a dismal Champions Trophy campaign where he was dropped after just one match and benched the entirety of the tournament, he had poor returns in the one-dayers against Sri Lanka in the UAE, his eventual return to international cricket in Edinburgh yielded poor results too as he could tally just 38 runs in the two matches.

According to what the discovered substance is, the concerned cricketer can potentially face a two-year ban. Raza Hasan was slapped with a ban of that duration when he was tested positive for cocaine in 2015. Of late, Pakistani tweakers Yasir Shah and Abdur Rehman have been found guilty of similar offences, though they have gotten away with three-month bans.

In the past, international regulars as Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Warne, and more recently Mohammad Shahzad have been tested positive too, and the pretence of consuming dietary pills has been a common justification.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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