Anyone’s fault but Pakistan’s, obviously

When the news came out that both Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif both tested positive for drugs, the initial reaction in the Pavilion was one of quiet resignation.

Given an historical disregard for the laws, conventions and spirit of the game by a nation which speaks so volubly about its honour, it hardly came as a surprise.

If a team see no problems in pitch tampering, abuse of an official, ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute, what could possibly be wrong with being several hundred times over the limit for nandralone (drugs banned in sport)?

Naturally Akhtar and Asif are completely innocent, national honour is at stake and so on.

The PCB were quick to burn their bridges though and options are now limited. By administering the test themselves, they cannot shriek racism, and by issuing a press release, almost immediately, saying “players are regularly made fully aware of what substances they are and aren’t allowed to take” they cannot claim ignorance.

Or can they? FICA are now blaming the ICC (who else) for not properly educating players. In fairness the ICC should be blamed – for the misery they have wrought with their imperious drinks banns, absurd tournaments, their slavish devotion to selling the game for cash and for blowing it all handing out kwik sets in Peking. 

But in the end no one will seriously see the blame stick to Speed and co, someone will have to take the heat.

In the meantime, some options are still open to Shoaib and Mohammed; Shane Warne blamed his mother, and if all else fails they could just say Darrell Hair spiked their drinks.

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