Pakistan’s star fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will be sent home from the Champions Trophy for testing positive to a performance enhancing drug.
Shoaib, along with Mohammad Asif, is understood to have failed an internal drug test commissioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
A Pakistan official told Reuters a formal announcement would be made following an urgent board meeting.
The news will undoubtedly have an unsettling effect on the Pakistan team, which is already without their captain Inzamam ul-Haq, following his suspension in the wake of the forfeited Test at The Oval.
The cricket website, Cricinfo, broke the news of Shoaib’s positive test today. The controversy is the latest to engulf the career of the Pakistani paceman, whose attitude has often been called into question.
Shoaib is the biggest name to fail a drug test in cricket since Shane Warne, who was sent home from the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Warne tested positive to a banned diuretic that he said was given to him by his mother. He received a 12-month ban, but has returned to become the world’s leading all-time wicket taker.
At his best, Shoaib is the world’s most intimidating fast bowler, combining overt aggression with the kind of pace that only Brett Lee can match.
He last toured Australia with the ICC World XI team last summer and once played a club stint for Mosman, for whom Lee also plays.
Pakistan will play Sri Lanka tomorrow.