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Sri Lanka’s Murali, Mahela in ICC award shortlist

MUMBAI, Oct 22 (AFP) - Pakistani paceman Mohammad Asif has been shortlisted for an ICC award despite testing positive for a banned substance, it was announced here on Sunday. "Asif is eligible for the award as the period under consideration was before the doping offence," said Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Asif, who was asked by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to return from the ongoing Champions Trophy along with pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar, is among four players in contention for the 'emerging player' award.

English batsmen Alastair Cook and Ian Bell and left-arm spinner Monty Panesear are the others in the reckoning.

Asif had tested positive for banned substance 'nandralone' during tests conducted by the PCB before the team left for India.

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"The PCB has conducted a hearing and we have been informed that a decision will be taken by October 26," added Speed.

The player in reckoning for the maximum awards was Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, shortlisted in four categories.

Ponting, 31, is a strong favourite for the 'Test player' award having scored nine centuries in Tests between August 1 last year and A

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