In a major jolt to Pakistan's World Cup hopes, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was on Wednesday banned for two years and fellow pacer Mohammad Asif for one year following their positive tests for banned drugs.
The two-year ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could effectively mean the end 31-year-old Shoaib's international career.
In a lengthy statement, a three-member drug inquiry tribunal of the PCB said it had heard both players and medical experts in its deliberations and reached the conclusion that both players had committed a doping offence.
"They have been informed off the decision and have the right to appeal for a review of the bans," the tribunal said in Lahore.
The bans are effective from October 15 on both and they cannot participate in any level of cricket organised by the PCB or international competitions.
The bans mean both are out of the World Cup to be held in the West Indies in March-April, and it is also a probable end to Shoaib's controversial career unless his appeal is upheld.
"We are not convinced that there was no fault of negligence on part of Shoaib Akhtar. We hold he has committed a doping offence as defined in clause 4.1 of the PCB anti-doping regulations," the statement read.