Sami and Arafat depart for WI

Despite no clearance to play, Pakistan’s replacement bowlers Mohammad Sami and Yasir Arafat have left for the Caribbean.

Pakistan, who are still waiting on ICC clearance, sent the bowlers to replace Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who were ruled out of the World Cup with injuries last week.

Pakistani officials sent medical documentation to the ICC proving the bowlers were injured, after suspicions that their withdrawal was drug related.

“Sami and Arafat are on a flight to the West Indies,” said a Pakistan cricket spokesperson.

“We expect the ICC to clear them soon but we don’t anticipate any problems because it is the ICC itself that is making all the arrangements for the players.”

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer revealed today that it was best Asif and Akhtar were not at the World Cup, saying they would have “cast a shadow over the team”.

“As far as Pakistan cricket goes, it’s been resolved but obviously there’s other people wanting to get involved here,” Woolmer said.

“This is in-house drug testing and both were found to be positive and both were cleared.

“With WADA and ICC trying to get involved, this is hanging over their heads. So in an obtuse way, it’s best they’re not here.

“And it’s best for the team that there’s not all this rubbish hanging over our heads.”

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