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Afghanistan star Shahzad fails drugs test

DUBAI: Afghanistan’s big-hitting batsman Mohammad Shahzad has tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol and will be suspended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.

The 29-year-old wicket-keeper, a key player in the team’s charge towards potential Test match status, returned a positive test in an out-of-competition test conducted on January 17 at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

“The ICC today announced that Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been charged with an anti-doping rule violation under the ICC Anti-Doping Code,” said a statement from the governing body in Dubai.

“The sample analysed at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, was found to contain the presence of Clenbuterol, a prohibited substance.”

Shahzad, who made his international debut in 2010, has played 58 matches in each of the ODI and Twenty20 formats.

He has scored 1,901 runs in one-dayers with a best score of 131 not out while smashing 1,779 runs in T20 with a high of an undefeated 118.

Shahzad is the fourth highest run-maker in T20 internationals, even passing Indian superstar Virat Kohli in the rankings when Afghanistan whitewashed Ireland 3-0 earlier this year.

The ICC said that he will be banned from April 26 “unless he exercises his right to challenge the imposition of the provisional suspension before such date”.

“The matter will now be dealt with in accordance with the process set down in the code, and until such time as the process is resolved, the ICC will make no further comment on this matter,” added the statement.

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