Shehzad was the leading run-getter in the Pakistan Cup, during which he was tested © Getty
Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad has failed a dope test and may face a minimum three-month-long suspension. Cricbuzz has learnt that the 26-year-old was tested during the Pakistan Cup, the country’s domestic five-team one-day tournament, held from April 19 to May 1.
Shehzad, who played for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that went on to win the tournament, was the highest run-getter – scoring 372 runs at a towering average of 74.40. He struck three fifties and a century.
In a tweet, which was retweeted by the board chairman Najam Sethi, the PCB confirmed that a player had failed a dope test. “A player has reportedly tested positive for a prohibited substance,” the tweet said.
“But under ICC rules, PCB cannot name the player or chargesheet him until the chemical report is CONFIRMED by the Anti-Dope Agency of the government. We should have an answer in a day or two.”
This, however, will not be the first time Shehzad has made headlines for wrong reasons. After Pakistan’s abysmal 2016 World T20 campaign, then head coach Waqar Younis had recommended the PCB to drop him and Umar Akmal from the national side and pushed them to take the long route through domestic performance to regain their spots.
After sitting on the bench throughout the West Indies series, Shehzad made it to Pakistan playing XI in the recently-concluded series against Scotland as Babar Azam, who opened with Fakhar in Karachi, had a wrist fracture. Shehzad, however, failed to impress as he managed only 38 runs in two T20 internationals.
Shehzad has been out of favour in ODIs and Tests. He was benched for the whole Champions Trophy after a 22-ball 12 against India in Pakistan’s first group-match. However, the right-handed batsman returned for Pakistan’s next one-day assignment in the UAE against Sri Lanka. In the two matches he played, he registered a 12-ball duck and 8 off 17. He was then dropped for the one-day leg of Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand.
Shehzad, who averages 40.91 in Tests, last donned whites for Pakistan in April 2017 during Pakistan’s tour of West Indies. He last scored a Test century in November 2014 against New Zealand. He scored 176 before he was hit wicket off a Corey Anderson bouncer that hit him in the helmet and floored him.
His numbers were below par during the recent PSL edition as he managed only 173 runs in nine innings at a paltry average of 19.22. He was picked up by new entrants Multan Sultans, who along with Lahore Qalandars failed to qualify for the play-offs, in the last round of the Gold category after being released by the finalists of the first two editions Quetta Gladiators.
Due to a dip in form, no other franchise showed any interest in Shehzad and when Sultans opted for him, it raised some eyebrows. “I know some eyebrows were raised when we picked him,” said Wasim Akram, Sultan’s team director. “I am going to talk to him in the next couple of days that he has to play cricket with us.”
Shehzad made his Pakistan debut in 2009 against Australia in the UAE and has made 151 international appearances.