Afghan cricketer Shehzad fails drug test, faces suspension

On Thursday, the ICC issued a statement informing that the 29-year-old, Mohammad Shahzad, who returned a positive test in an out-of-competition test conducted on January 17 at the ICC Academy in Dubai, will be suspended with immediate effect.

Shahzad, who made his international debut in 2010, has played 58 matches in each of the ODI and T20 formats.   -  AP

At a time when the Afghanistan cricketers are making their mark in the international arena, one of country’s noted batsmen Mohammad Shahzad has tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol and will be suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

On Thursday, the ICC issued a statement informing that the 29-year-old, who returned a positive test in an out-of-competition test conducted on January 17 at the ICC Academy in Dubai, will be suspended with immediate effect.

“The ICC today announced that Afghanistan's wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been charged with an anti-doping rule violation under the ICC Anti-Doping Code,” the statement read.

However, as Sportstar got in touch with the Afghanistan Cricket Board, it refused to react to the development, claiming it is yet to hear anything from the ICC. “We can’t talk about it at the moment. We too have heard about it, and things are not clear yet,” a very senior official in the ACB told Sportstar late on Thursday.

It is still not clear whether the Board will take any legal step after the decision. “We are not in a position to talk about it at the moment,” the official said.

The ICC said that he will be banned from April 26 ‘unless he exercises his right to challenge the imposition of the provisional suspension before such date.’

While there was no official release issued by the ACB, the ICC made it clear that it suspended the Afghan cricketer after he was found guilty. “The sample analysed at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, was found to contain the presence of Clenbuterol, a prohibited substance,” the statement read.

Shahzad, who made his international debut in 2010, has played 58 matches in each of the ODI and T20 formats. He is a big fan of former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also the fourth highest run-maker in T20 internationals, even passing Indian superstar Virat Kohli in the rankings when Afghanistan whitewashed Ireland 3-0 earlier this year.

The ICC has also made it clear that the matter will ‘now be dealt with in accordance with the process set down in the code’. And, until such time as the process is resolved, the ICC will make no further comment on this matter.