Fri, Nov 10, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Shoaib denies allegations he slapped Bob Woolmer

BUS BUST-UP Accusations by a former colonel who recently served as the Pakistan cricket team's security officer have added to the banned fast bowler's woes

AFP , NEW DELHI, INDIA

Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar slapped coach Bob Woolmer, misbehaved with a girl and banged on Indian coach Greg Chappell's hotel door, the team's security officer has alleged.

Anil Kaul, a retired Indian army colonel who served as the Pakistani team's security officer during the Champions Trophy, said the incidents took place in Jaipur ahead of Pakistan's first match on Oct. 17.

"During a bus journey there was an impasse over whether to listen to Indian or Western music. Woolmer tried to crack a joke on Shoaib, who then slapped him on the neck," Kaul told NDTV news channel yesterday.

Two days later, Shoaib and fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif were called home by the Pakistan Cricket Board after they tested positive for banned steroid nandrolone.

Woolmer denied the incident, but admitted there had been a disciplinary problem with Shoaib, without elaborating.

"The issue is being blown out of proportion," the Englishman told the channel. "I don't know who is spreading these rumors. But I will concede there was a disciplinary issue when Shoaib was up in the evening, so we had a little bit of a problem."

Kaul said Shoaib had to be pulled out of a discotheque by security staff after he insisted on dancing with one particular girl and then created chaos in the corridors of the hotel.

"Shoaib went to the floor where the Indian team was staying and started banging on the doors," said Kaul.

"He accidentally banged on the door of Indian coach Greg Chappell and his wife came out, dressed in her night clothes," he said.

"Shoaib made some comments about her. The next morning, I was having breakfast with the Pakistani team manager when Woolmer stormed in," he said. "He said even Chappell has complained about Shoaib and strict action must be taken."

Shoaib, whose cricketing future is in doubt after he was handed a two-year ban for drug abuse, vehemently denied the charges made by Kaul.

"No such incident took place," he told the channel. "I am surprised how you can say such things without any proof."

Pakistan team manager Talat Ali also denied the accusations, which were splashed across the front page of most Indian newspapers yesterday.

"I categorically deny any such incident," said Ali. "It has got nothing to do with the doping test. This incident never happened."

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