South Africa’s Zubayr Hamza hit with nine-month ban after taking dad’s heart medication

South Africa batter Zubayr Hamza has been banned for nine months from “all cricket-related activities” by the ICC after failing an anti-doping test.

Hamza tested positive for Furosemide, a prohibited substance under the ICC’s anti-doping code. The 26-year-old agreed a voluntary suspension in March, with Cricket South Africa releasing a statement that said Hamza had been able to “identify how the substance entered his system” and that there was “no significant fault or negligence on the part of Zubayr”.

Now, the ICC have given Hamza a nine-month suspension backdated to March 22, meaning he will not be able to play cricket until December 22 this year. The ICC said that Hamza told them the substance ended up in his system due to a mix-up involving his father’s heart medication.

“Mr Hamza provided a detailed explanation for how the prohibited substance entered his system, namely by mistakenly taking one of his father’s heart pills instead of his own anti-allergy medication,” they said in their release.

“Having consulted with an independent scientific expert, the ICC accepts Mr Hamza’s contention that he mistakenly took one of his father’s Furosemide pills instead of his own Allergex pill on the night before his sample was collected.” As a result, the ICC’s integrity said it had “established no significant fault or negligence on his part” and gave him a shorter ban than the usual two-year period of ineligibility.

“I have never intentionally taken a prohibited substance and I am relieved that the ICC determination confirms this fact,” Hamza said in a statement via the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA). “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.”

SACA CEO Andrew Breetzke added: “From the outset, Zubayr co-operated with the ICC on providing 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. The ICC considered and accepted his submission, and we are pleased that Zubayr will be back playing cricket at the end of this year.”

ICC integrity unit manager Alex Marshall said: “It is 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.”

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