x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dope test on Pakistan trio, Dhoni unfazed by runs conceded in warm-up game

Cricket World Cup round-up: Shoaib, Kamran and Umar Gul first to be checked in what manager Intikhab says is normal random testing for all teams.

Three Pakistani cricketers, including pace bowler Shoaib Akthar, were taken for a random dope test ahead of the ICC cricket World Cup, a team official said on Thursday.

"The ICC conducted a dope test of Shoaib Akthar, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and Umar Gul on Wednesday," team manager Intikhab Alam said.

"It's a normal process and I think some members of every team will be tested at some stage," Alam said. An ICC spokesman in Dhaka declined to give details.

"The ICC normally does not want to comment on dope tests," said Sami-ul-Hasan, The ICC's media and communications operations manager.

Shoaib, who was recalled for the World Cup after being out of action for a major part of the last three years, tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone in 2006. He did not play against Bangladesh in Pakistan's first warm-up match on Tuesday.

Pakistan will sign off their preparation for the February 19-April 2 tournament on Friday with a warm-up game against England at Fatullah, near the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.

Dhoni says bowlers were told to take it easy

The erratic form of Indian seamers in the lead up to the World Cup does not concern Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as they had been instructed not to exert themselves in the warm-up matches.

The Indian pace attack, without the experienced Zaheer Khan, managed to take only three wickets between them while going for plenty of runs in the two practice games against Australia and New Zealand.

"It is important for us to have our best seamers for the first game," Dhoni said referring to India's opening match of the World Cup against Bangladesh on Saturday.

"That's one of the reasons why we have asked them to not give in that extra effort... save themselves for the league stages.

"Maybe that's one of the reason for the display," added Dhoni, who scored a blistering 108 off just 64 balls as India easily beat New Zealand in their final warm-up match in Chennai yesterday.

The Indian pace battery of Ashish Nehra, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Munaf Patel were allowed to bowl only 24.1 overs between themselves in the two warm-up games to avoid injuries.

India has already lost paceman Praveen Kumar to an elbow injury before the World Cup and Zaheer is known to be prone to niggles. Zaheer was not risked for India's practice matches.