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Suspended Shoaib, Asif to face PCB tribunal today

October 21, 2006

LAHORE, Oct 20: A three-member inquiry tribunal of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s, headed by Barrister Shahid Hamid, will hold its preliminary hearing on Saturday into doping charges against fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif who tested positive for anabolic steroid nandrolone recently.

Barrister Shahid, a former Governor of Punjab, met PCB chairman Dr. Nasim Ashraf on Friday and announced soon after that the tribunal will will be commencing its probe straight away, with the first hearing set for Saturday morning.

Earlier, the tribunal was expected to commence its investigation after the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.

"I met the PCB chairman and sought some necessary information about the case and now the tribunal is ready to start work," said Shahid. He added that both Shoaib and Asif will appear in the hearing.

Talking to newsmen later in the day, Shahid said he could not predict any specific time frame for the completion of tribunal’s findings but would try his best to reach an early conclusion. The tribunal is to present its report in two weeks.

The barrister added that Dr. Waqar Ahmed, Director Medicines, Pakistan Sports Board, has been included as the third member in the tribunal which also include former Test captain Intikhab Alam.

According to a PCB spokesman, it would be a closed-door hearing on Saturday and none of the mediamen or photographers will be allowed in the meeting room. “Neither the players nor any member of the tribunal is allowed to talk to the press on the subject.”

In another short meeting at the PCB headquarters, both Shahid and Intikhab were briefed by PCB doctor, Sohail Saleem regarding the players’ regimen and other matters. Shoaib Akhtar, who failed to meet the chairman in the morning due to his busy schedule, finally managed it after Friday's prayers.

Meanwhile, the Sports Medicine Association of Pakistan has criticised the PCB for prematurely disclosing Shoaib and Asif's names in connection with the doping scandal.

Clause 16.2 of the ICC's Anti-Doping Code says the ICC and its members should not publicly identify cricket players whose samples have resulted in adverse findings, the association's president Danish Zaheer said in a statement.