The ICC announced that Mohammad Shahzad was being suspended from all cricketing activities for a period of 12 months © Getty Images (File Photo)
The ICC announced that Mohammad Shahzad was being suspended from all cricketing activities for a period of 12 months © Getty Images (File Photo)

Just when it seemed Afghanistan cricket was having a merry time, they have been hit with a setback. Mohammad Shahzad on Thursday was found guilty by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for dope charges. The ICC announced that Shahzad was being suspended from all cricketing activities for a period of 12 months after pleading guilty to the breach of Article 2.1 of the ICC Anti-Doping Code. Shahzad had provided a urine sample, which was a part of the ICC’s out-of-competition testing programme, held in Dubai on January 17. The ICC reported that his sample contained clenbuterol, a non-specified substance under WADA’s Prohibited List, while it is also prohibited during both in-competition and out-of-competition.

Mohammad Shahzad provisionally suspended by ICC for violating anti-doping rule
Mohammad Shahzad provisionally suspended by ICC for violating anti-doping rule

“Today’s announcement reinforces the ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to doping, and reminds all international cricketers that they remain personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put into their bodies does not result in an anti-doping rule violation. It further serves as a reminder to all international cricketers of the dangers and risks associated with taking supplements. Before thinking about taking a supplement, cricketers should weigh up the risks and dangers of doing so and should fully research the supplement in question so they can make an informed decision,” said Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager.

Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad charged with anti-doping rule violation
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad charged with anti-doping rule violation

The ICC sent out a media release which further stated:

Mr Shahzad admitted the violation and a twelve-month suspension has been imposed, backdated to 17 January 2017, the date of his sample collection.  Mr Shahzad will, therefore, be eligible to return to cricket on 17 January 2018.

In making the decision, the ICC accepted that Mr Shahzad had inadvertently ingested the prohibited substance, as a contaminant of a weight loss product he was taking, Hydroxycut.  

Mr Shahzad was able to satisfy the ICC through evidence and submissions prepared on his behalf that he had no intention to enhance his sporting performance through the use of prohibited substances or to mask the use of another performance enhancing substance and had, instead, inadvertently ingested the prohibited substance after taking Hyrdoxycut supplements which were contaminated with Clenbuterol.  

However, Mr Shahzad has accepted that he had failed to satisfy the high levels of personal responsibility incumbent upon him as an international cricketer subject to anti-doping rules.