Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been banned for three months for breaching the International Cricket Council’s anti-doping code.
Shah had been provisionally suspended in late December after a tested sample from the bowler revealed the presence of chlortalidone, which is under the category of “diuretics and masking agents” in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list.
The test was carried out after Pakistan’s one-day international against England in Abu Dhabi on November 13 and the 29-year-old will now be banned until March 27.
It means Shah will miss the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 while his first major outing following his return could be with Pakistan’s touring party to England this summer.
The ICC accepted Shah’s claim that he had taken the banned substance for therapeutic reasons – namely to treat high blood pressure. The ICC said he had mistakenly taken his wife’s medication – which contained chlortalidone – instead of his own.
“Today’s announcement reinforces ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to doping, and reminds all international cricketers that they remain personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put into their bodies does not result in an anti-doping rule violation,” the ICC’s general manager Geoff Allardice said.
Shah added in a statement issued by the ICC: “I assure all fans and followers of the Pakistan cricket team that I have never taken a performance-enhancing substance nor have I ever had the intent of masking any such substance.
“I have always been careful to check my medication with doctors and medical support staff to ensure it does not contain any substance on the prohibited list.
“However, I acknowledge that I should have taken extra precautions to ensure that my blood pressure medication was stored separately from my wife’s medication so that there was no possibility of my wife’s medication being mistaken for my own. Therefore, I accept the consequences imposed upon me.”
Shah played in two Tests against England in the United Arab Emirates last year, claiming 15 of his 76 Test wickets.
Having made his Test debut in 2014, more than three years after featuring in the shorter formats, Shah became the quickest Pakistani bowler to 50 wickets in the five-day game.