Pakistan`s Akhtar dope-tested, fined for late night

Dhaka: Pakistan`s mercurial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was among three team-mates who were taken for random dope testing ahead of the World Cup, a official
confirmed on Thursday.

Akhtar, 35, wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, 29, and seamer Umar Gul, 26, were tested after a practice session on Wednesday by the International Cricket Council`s drug inspectors, team manager Intikhab Alam said.

"These are normal procedures and players from every team will be tested," Alam said. Akhtar, recalled for the World Cup after being out of action for a major part of the last three years due to a spate of injuries, tested positive for a banned drug nandrolone in 2006.

There was further trouble for Akhtar after he and fellow paceman Wahab Riaz were fined USD 42 each for returning late from a private dinner on last night. "We want players to follow team rules," said Alam.

"The two have been warned not to keep late nights in future." Pakistan face England in a practice match in the Bangladeshi town of Fatullah Friday, a game the ageing Akhtar needs to perform in to make the team for their World Cup opener against Kenya on February 23.

Akhtar did not bowl against Bangladesh on Tuesday with coach Waqar Younis admitting the fast bowler had yet to regain full fitness.

Akhtar, who last played a Test match in 2007, has claimed 244 one-day wickets in 160 matches at an average of 24.78.

He was picked for the recent tour of New Zealand where he "improved in patches," according to Waqar. "Shoaib is not in touch at the moment," the fast bowling
great said. "It is important he gets into full throttle before we get him into the side."

Bureau Report

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