Zubayr Hamza gets nine-month ban for using banned substance

South Africa

Zubayr Hamza has been banned from “all cricket-related activities” for nine months by the ICC after admitting to an anti-doping rule violation.

The South Africa batter provided an out-of-competition sample on January 17 in Paarl which was found to contain Furosemide, a substance specified in Section S5 of the 2022 WADA Prohibited List. Hamza accepted the provisional suspension, which was backdated to March 22, meaning he will be eligible to return to cricket on December 22, 2022.

In addition, all of the international cricket that Hamza played between January 17, when he was tested, and March 22, when he was banned, have been stripped from his stats. That’s essentially one Test match against New Zealand, where he scored 25 and 6.

The ICC release made a point to mention that Hamza wasn’t significantly at fault for the substance found in his sample with Alex Marshal, the general manager – integrity unit, adding it was “a timely reminder to all international cricketers that they remain responsible for anything they put into their bodies, to know exactly what medication they are taking so as to ensure it does not contain a prohibited substance and does not result in an anti-doping rule violation”.

“I have never intentionally taken a prohibited substance,” Hamza said in a statement issued by the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), “And I am relieved that the ICC determination confirms this fact. The past few months have been difficult for me on a personal and professional level, and I have learnt lessons that I will share with my fellow players.”

“We are pleased that Zubayr will be back playing cricket at the end of this year,” SACA CEO Andrew Breetzke said. “SACA will continue to support Zubayr during the period of his suspension.”

On March 23, CSA had issued a statement confirming that Hamza was “not disputing” the positive test and was “cooperating fully with the ICC” on the matter, and had agreed to voluntary suspension.

Hamza made his Test debut against Pakistan in early 2019 when he became South Africa’s 100th Test player since readmission. He made his ODI debut against Netherlands in November last year, scoring 56 in a washout. He has played six Tests in all and had withdrawn from both Test and ODI series against Bangladesh earlier this year because of “personal reasons”.

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