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'Rawalpindi Express' elated to be back on track

Pakistan's enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar says it was a 'big relief' to have his name cleared of dope charges.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 23:00 IST

Pakistan's enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Tuesdaysaid it was a "big relief" to have his name cleared of dope charges and thanked the cricket board for giving a chance to him to fight his case.

"I am delighted at being cleared. It is a big victory and relief to have my name cleared of taking performance enhancing drugs which I have never done in my life," he said.

Shoaib faced the possibility of an early end to his career after he was banned for two years on November 1 by a dope tribunal for testing positive for banned drug nandrolone.

The 31-year said he had not been able to sleep properly for nights since he was banned and had been under great stress and pressure.

"I came through because of the immense support of my family and friends and also because the board Chairman was fair enough to give me a chance to defend myself," the 'Rawalpindi Express' said.

"I am now looking forward to resuming my career and to get back into the team as the South Africa tour and World Cup are around the corner. I have had enough of watching cricket on the telly I want to get into the thick of the action."

Shoaib said he was confident of the ban being lifted because he had done nothing wrong.

"I kept faith that I will be vindicated soon and I am happy we got a fair chance to clear our names. I didn't want to be linked to doping in sports," he said.

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 23:00 IST