Karachi: Pakistan pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif have been recalled by the Pakistan Cricket Board and could miss out on the World Cup next year following their positive dope tests for nandrolone.
"Shoaib and Asif have tested positive after routine tests were carried out before the team's departure for India," PCB's Director Cricket Operations Saleem Altaf said.
"As soon as we got the reports we decided to ask for another tests on their urine samples. But in the meantime they have been suspended and will return home immediately," he said.
They were suspended immediately after the preliminary results conducted on their urine samples showed traces of nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. As per anti-doping rules, tests were conducted on their B samples for reconfirmation.
The B sample of Shoaib Akhtar, too, has reportedly tested positive.
The ICC rules provide for a ban up to two years from the sport. The World Cup is to be played in the West Indies in March-April 2007.
Australian leg spinner Shane Warne had missed out on the last World Cup after testing positive for a diuretic.
Even though Shoaib and Asif were not caught in tests coducted by ICC during any event, they are still liable to be punished, as both the ICC and PCB are signatories to the WADA anti-doping code.
Altaf said the WADA-accreditated laboratory in Kuala Lumpur only conveyed the results of the failed tests to the PCB on Sunday.
"This latest development comes as a big disappointment for us. But we are strong in our conviction that we want to clean up the system. Both players will face a proper inquiry and punishment under the prevailing regulations governing anti-doping laws of the ICC," he said.
Another PCB official said since the tests were not conducted in an international tournament, Pakistan had asked the ICC for permission to send replacements to India.
"We have asked for the replacements under the participating nations agreement and we foresee no problems in that as we have voluntarily called back both players and declared their test results," he said.
Altaf said all the other tests had come clear on 23 other players.
Pakistan are to play their first match of the Champions Trophy against Sri Lanka in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Only two other cricketers have been banned previously for taking banned substances. One of them, Ed Giddins who played four Tests for England, was banned for taking cocaine while playing for english county Sussex while the other big case occured before the 2003 World Cup involving Warne.
He served out a one-year ban from the Australian cricket board after being recalled from South Africa.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates