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Ken Borland

Hamza can leap back into action less than a year after positive test

Posted on June 20, 2022 by Ken

Proteas batsman Zubayr Hamza will be able to leap back into action less than a year after testing positive for a banned substance, as the International Cricket Council announced just a nine-month ban for the 26-year-old on Tuesday.

Having returned a positive sample for the diuretic Furosemide on January 17, Hamza accepted a provisional suspension on March 22. So he will be eligible to return to play on December 22 this year, in time for the height of the South African summer.

The ICC, in their statement released on Tuesday, said there had been “no significant fault or negligence on his part” and he had admitted the infringement, so what may be seen as a lenient punishment has also been backdated to March 22.

The South African Cricketers’ Association, which supported Hamza through the legal process, said the Western Province batsman had provided “full disclosure of medications that he had been taking, and the sequence of events leading up to the positive test. Through this process, we were able to determine how Furosemide came to be in his sample”.

Hamza expressed his relief and denied any deliberate attempt to illegally enhance his performance.

“I have never intentionally taken a prohibited substance 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,” Hamza said.

Last year the World Anti-Doping Agency also announced that Furosemide was one of the substances that should no longer be considered a banned substance if its concentration in the urine was less than 20ng/ml.

Hamza, who first played for the Proteas in 2019, went through a couple of years of poor form after he was dropped from the Test side during the series against England in early 2020.

But he gave his career a fresh dose of oxygen last summer and not only returned to Test cricket in New Zealand, but made his ODI debut for South Africa as well, scoring 56 against the Netherlands at Centurion.

Then came the positive doping test, a deflating incident which fortunately will not cost the talented strokeplayer more time out of the game.

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