Afghanistan cricketer Mohammad Shahzad was handed a one-year ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday after the wicketkeeper-batsman pleaded guilty for failing a dope test. "The wicketkeeper-batsman had inadvertently ingested the prohibited substance, as a contaminant of a weight loss product he was taking, Hydroxycut," the ICC said in a statement. The 29-year-old Shahzad has played 58 ODIs and as many T20s for his country and is said to have breached article 2.1 of the ICC Anti-Doping Code. "Mr Shahzad had provided a urine sample as part of the ICC's out-of-competition testing programme in Dubai, UAE, on 17 January 2017," the ICC stated.
His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain clenbuterol. Clenbuterol is classified as a non-specified substance by WADA and is prohibited both in-competition and out-of-competition.
"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," the ICC said.
The ICC, however, accepted Shahzad's explanation that he had inadvertently ingested the 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...," the ICC said.
ICC General Manager (Cricket) Geoff Allardice said the world body has zero tolerance for doping violations.
"It further serves as a reminder to all international cricketers of the dangers and risks associated with taking supplements," Allardice said.
"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," he added.
(With PTI Inputs)