Asif and Akhtar drugs bans overturned

Mohammad Asif has spoken of his relief after he and fellow Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had their drugs bans overturned.

The duo tested positive for nandrolone in October in the build-up to the Champions Trophy, with Shoaib consequently suspended for two years and Asif for one.

The players refused to accept the decisions, however, claiming they never knowingly used any banned substances.

A relieved Asif declared after the verdict: "I am now totally fit to play. This is a result of my mother's prayers."

Former Pakistan team manager Zaheer Abbas was equally pleased with the PCB anti-doping appeal committee's decision.

"It's good news for Pakistan cricket," he said. "The bowling was weak without them. No-one was involved in doping during my stint as manager."

However, Kiran More, ex-India chairman of selectors, was not impressed.

"I am not surprised," he said. "The PCB has gone back on its word. They are setting a bad precedent."

Chairperson Fakhruddin Ibrahim, a retired judge, announced the decision earlier on Tuesday, saying: "This appeal committee...holds that Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will not be deemed to have committed a doping offence.

"The ban and punishment imposed by the earlier tribunal is hereby set aside as being contrary to the provision of laws."

Both players are free to play in next year's World Cup, although it remains to be seen how the International Cricket Council will react to the decision.

The ICC will not comment on the situation until they have all the facts at their disposal.

"We haven't seen the PCB judgement yet and will not be making any statement until we do," said an ICC spokesperson.

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