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Pakistan's Akhtar, Asif out of World Cup

01/03/2007 04:51:35 PM Comments (0)

Pakistan pace pair Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were ruled out of the World Cup in the Caribbean due to injury, chief selector Wasim Bari said.

"Akhtar and Asif are both out due to injury and we have decided to replace them with Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Sami," Bari said.

"Their injuries will take another two weeks to heal so after consultation with (captain) Inzamam-ul-Haq we have taken the final decision," he added.

"The Pakistan team is capable enough to deal with this critical situation."

The omission of Akhtar and Asif came on the same day the ICC admitted the game had been greatly embarrassed because the pair had been able to continue playing despite positive drug tests last year and confirmed it would target players for testing at the World Cup.

Akhtar and Asif initially received lengthy bans from the Pakistan Cricket Board after testing positive to the steroid nandrolone during internal testing.

But their cases were overturned by the PCB's appeals committee on the grounds that neither had been advised about the risk of taking vitamin supplements which may have caused the positive results.

The ICC said it was unable to intercede as its own anti-doping code - which is World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) compliant - only governs ICC events.

WADA chairman Dick Pound said WADA would contest the decision to clear Akhtar and Asif at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said the injuries to the pair was a huge blow for the team.

"But their injuries would have taken more time and we couldn't wait any more," he said.

"We now know where we stand. It is true that our chances have been hit badly by the absence of these two key bowlers but we will have to show the kind of spirit and team unity which can win us a big event like the World Cup."

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