Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief selector Haroon Rasheed said on Sunday that the provisional suspension on leg spinner Yasir Shah by the ICC is a huge setback for the national team ahead of its upcoming New Zealand tour.
“You wake up every day and faced with a new problem in Pakistan cricket. We now have to revise all our plans for the coming events,” Rasheed told PTI.
Meanwhile, a spokesman in the Pakistan Cricket Board made it clear that since ICC was dealing with the Yasir case under the anti-doping regulations, there would be no comments on the issue.
“As per ICC rules, a process would be followed now but at this time all we know is that he is provisionally banned and is most probably out of the tour to New Zealand,” he said.
A source in the PCB confided to PTI that Yasir could face a ban between one to two years as the banned substance he had used was also technically seen as a masking agent.
“Yasir apparently took some medicines for a blood pressure problem but didn’t inform the team doctor or the PCB medical panel, which was a grave mistake,” the source said.
He revealed that the PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan was also upset with the team management for not keeping a closer watch on what medicines the players use for ailments.
Interestingly, the ban on Yasir now makes it easier for the selectors to justify recalling tainted left-arm pacer Muhammad Aamir for the tour to New Zealand.
“Obviously with Yasir out Pakistan’s bowling resources will be depleted. So there is a strong chance that if they are no visa issues Aamir will be picked for the New Zealand series,” the source said.
Yasir, 29, has been Pakistan’s mainstay in Test matches since last year, scalping 76 wickets in 12 matches to lead the ICC bowler rankings. He has also picked up 18 ODI wickets.
In the past, Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif had tested positive for banned substances and were subsequently suspended from the 2006 Champions Trophy and 2007 World Cup.
The ICC said in a release that Yasir had tested positive in a random test taken on November 13 for Chlortalidone, a prohibited substance.
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said Yasir’s ban was a big blow to Pakistan cricket as presently there was no other leg spinner in the country who could immediately replace him.
“It is a big blow and in just one year’s time we have lost three of our best spinners in Saeed Ajmal, Muhammad Hafeez and Yasir. But only Pakistan cricket has the capacity to recover from this setback,” he said.
He said that Aamir’s return to the national side was now a mere formality.