In a temporary reprieve to fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, the Court of Arbitration for Sports has said the dope-tainted duo can take part in international competitions until it reaches a verdict.
A top CAS official said since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had not asked it to restrain the bowlers from competing, they were free to represent their country before a final decision was reached.
"... WADA, while filing appeals against the acquittal of Shoiab Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, has not filed any stay application restraining the athletes from competition," CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb said.
"Therefore, both Shoaib and Asif are not suspended for the time being and both can take part in international competitions," he told a radio programme, according to local daily 'The News' today.
Shoaib and Asif had tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone in October and were banned by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) inquiry committee. However, their bans were revoked by another PCB-appointed tribunal within a month.
The decision to overturn the bans was challenged by WADA which said the ruling was against international anti-doping regulations and filed a case in the Lausanne-based CAS.
Both Shoaib and Asif have been drafted in Pakistan's squad for the upcoming Test series against South Africa.