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Afghan fans launch ‘forgive Shahzad campaign’

Afghan fans launch ‘forgive Shahzad campaign’

Jul 04, 2017 - 20:04

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A large number of Afghans have launched a campaign on social media sites, urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to end provisional suspension of their cricket hero Mohammad Shahzad.

Wicketkeeper Shahzad has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has said.

The 29-year-old underwent an out-of-competition test in Dubai in January and the sample was tested at the Worldinfo-icon Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City.

The 'A' sample tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned anabolic agent, the ICC said in a statement.  "In accordance with the ICC Anti-Doping Code ... Shahzad will be provisionally suspended, with such suspension coming into effect on 26 April 2017, unless he exercises his right to challenge the imposition of the provisional suspension before such date," the sportinfo-icon's governing body has said.

Shahzad, who has played 58 one-day internationals for Afghanistaninfo-icon, has five days from the notice of the positive test to ask for his 'B' sample to be tested.

He has 12 days to determine whether he will challenge the provisional suspension. If he does elect to have a hearing then the ban will not be imposed until the outcome is known.

If he does not respond within 14 days, the ICC will have deemed him to have waived his entitlement to a hearing and admitted to having committed the anti-doping rule violation.

In reaction, a number of Afghans have initiated a campaign on social media sites (Twitter and Facebook), seeking end to the provisional suspension of Shahzad.

The campaign led by an Afghani sportsinfo-icon journalist, Jafar Haand, has attracted hundreds of Afghan social media users.

Haand told Pajhwok Afghan News hundreds of Afghans and cricket fans joined the campaign in a short span of time.  “I saw our voice reaching the ICC and the ‘Forgive MS’ hashtag has become a sensation on Twitter.”

Haand said he considered the campaign a right of Shahzad and in favour of the Afghan cricket, hoping their efforts would yield positive results.

He asked the Afghans and cricket fans to broadly participate in the campaign in order to be effective and strong.

Hasti Gul Abid, former cricket player, said Afghans had recently joined the cricket world and were not fully aware of international rules. He urged the ICC to end or reduce Shahzad’s suspension period.

“Shahzad has confessed to taking the drug mistakenly and in ignorance, the ICC has to forgive his mistake.”

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has earlier said a defence lawyer was hired for Shahzad to work with the ICC on the issue. Shahzad is considered the back-bone of the Afghanistan cricket team due to his leading role in many victories.

His aggressive style is loved by many Afghans and foreign fans and is specially sought after in the T20 format. Currently ranked fourth behind McCullum, Dilshan and Guptill in the list of highest run-getters in T20 internationals, has performed exceptionally well in the shortest format of the game.

Shahzad has decent numbers in ODI cricket as well. In 58 games, the opener has accumulated 1901 runs at almost 34. He has four centuries to his name – the highest amongst Afghan players. His strike rate of 91.35 makes him a very popular player in Afghanistan cricket.

Here are some tweets by cricket fans seeking Shahzad’s forgiveness: Najeebullah Akhterzai tweets, “Forgiving human mistake is a divine order. The ICC is requested to forgive MShahzad’s  doping penalty as a gesture of goodwill.”

Jafar Haand tweets, “Dear ICC, please kindly, as a gesture of goodwill, forgive/reduce MShahzad’s penalty for the doping violation.” Many other fans tweeted in support of Shahzad.



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