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'I don't need to take drugs'

Dope-tainted speedster Shoaib Akhtar today claimed that he was innocent and that he had never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drug.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 19:23 IST

Dope-tainted speedster Shoaib Akhtar today claimed that he was innocent and that he had never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drug.

"I cannot say much at this time about what has happened but I just want to assure everyone that I am innocent of doing anything I shouldn't have," the star bowler said.

"The President of Pakistan has asked me not to comment in any detail at this stage and I want to respect his wishes," he said in a short message posted on a cricket portal.

"All I can say is that I have not knowingly taken any performance enhancing drugs and would never cheat my team-mates or opponents in this way."

In a sensational development on the eve of Pakistan's opening Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka in Jaipur, it was revealed that Shoaib and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif had tested positive for a steroid in tests conducted before the team's departure for India.

Shoaib said he was "gutted" to miss out on the Champions Trophy.

"I have always played the game fair and I give 100 per cent and do not feel that I need to take drugs to help my bowling.

"I am gutted to be missing the Champions Trophy and I will return to Pakistan to see what has happened and what needs to be done," he added.