Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are banned

Tell you what: This is a real kick in the teeth for cricket fans. We're the ones getting a raw deal out of this.

Shoaib Akhtar has been banned for two years and that could be pretty much it for him. Never say never with Pakistani cricket, but he's getting on a bit. He's 31. Mohammad Asif has been banned for a year. They seem to be citing his naivity as a reason for the shorter ban.

We're not blaming the Pakistani Cricket Board for this. The players were guilty. The PCB had no choice. We're blaming Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and those around them for depriving cricket of two of its finest bowlers.

Fast bowling's been going through something of a lean period over the last few years and Pakistan seemed to be one nation who were likely to redress the balance. Shoaib Akhtar had been showing much greater consistency and - ironically - greater maturity to boot. Mohammad Asif has been one of the bowling finds of recent times. In a world of ageing stars, he was a younger bowler who looked the part.

The stupid thing is that cricket's not a game that can get massively affected by doping, so it was clearly avoidable. We're livid.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

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