Afghan wicketkeeper Shahzad banned for two matches


Harare (AFP)

Big-hitting Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad has been suspended for two matches, just three months after returning from a one-year doping ban, the ICC announced on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old slammed his bat against the pitch next to the main wicket after being dismissed for 24 in Afghanistan's two-run defeat by Zimbabwe in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Shahzad reached four demerit points over the last two years after being found guilty of "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings" by cricket's governing body.

The opening batsman will now miss Afghanistan's next two Group B matches against Hong Kong on Thursday and Nepal on Saturday.

It is a big blow for the Rashid Khan-led side, who were expected to qualify for next year's tournament in England and Wales, but now look set to miss out after consecutive losses to Scotland and hosts Zimbabwe.

Shahzad only returned to action last December after serving a ban for taking a weight-loss product.

Teenage leg-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was fined 50 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points for throwing the ball "in a dangerous manner" towards Zimbabwe batsman Brendan Taylorn in Tuesday's game.

The 16-year-old contested the charge, but was found guilty on Wednesday morning.

Wicketkeeper Taylor, who made a crucial 89 in Zimbabwe's total of 196, was also fined 15 percent of his match fee for dissent after complaining about an lbw appeal that wasn't given late on in the tense encounter.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong batsman Nizakat Khan was fined and handed three demerit points for barging into Scotland bowler Alasdair Evans during his side's four-wicket defeat.