Friday, November 10, 2006


Innocent Shoaib Slaps Woolmer


It seems there might not be much truth to any either of the proclamations in the title. After his conviction for doping, Shoaib Akhtar is on the PR trail to gain support/sympathy and try and convince the more gullible members of the public, if not the people who matter, that he is not a drug cheat and has "done nothing wrong."

Akhtar's appeal is unlikely to be overturned, for if it was the PCB would face an almost unanimous condemnation and scorn from sporting bodies the world over.

However, Akhtar does not deny that he may have taken substances that have combined to increase the levels of nandrolone in his body to unnatural levels. It appears that the basis of his appeal will anchored around the fact that he did not know the substances could have a doping effect, because the formulations he was taking were not specifically on the banned list.

It goes without saying that people are still put in jail for murdering someone, even though it may have been an accident. Akhtar's pleas of ignorance sound feeble and reflect badly on his intellect and that of sportspeople in general.

It is this very impression of Akhtar's that Colonel Anil Kaul has tried to shamefully capitalise on by trying to ignite flames based around an incident where Akhtar allegedly slapped Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer.

For all of Shoaib's behavioural troubles I have no reason to doubt the vehement denials of both player and coach. The army officer, who in my view should remain anonymous in the background while he is on duty, has tarnished the reputation of the Indian armed forces by making such ludicrous claims. It is unbecoming of a representative of such an esteemed and proud organisation to stoop to the levels of a common pauper fabricating events to earn his 15 seconds of fame.

You could argue that Shoaib Akhtar has made himself easy fodder for such allegations, and I would be inclined to agree with you. Akhtar and Kaul have proven to be similar people - both afflicted by a severe case of verbal diarrhea. It is time Akhtar, in particular, bit the bullet and stayed mum. It is the only way he will have any possibility of redemption.

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