Rocked by one scandal after another, Pakistan's controversy-prone fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Thursday appealed to his fans to back him in the "most testing" period of his cricketing career.
Banned for two years for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance, Shoaib was beset with another controversy on Wednesday when a security officer attached to the Pakistan team for the Champions Trophy in India claimed he had slapped coach Bob Woolmer.
Retd. Colonel Anil Kaul alleged that Shoaib caused a lot of problems for the team and security officials in the team hotel with his errant ways and late night-outs.
"I am innocent. Some action should be taken against this fellow or he should substantiate his allegations. How can he come on television and try to destroy my life," Shoaib said.
"I don't know what is happening. This is clearly the worst period of my life and I just want to get out of it," the 'Rawalpindi Express' bemoaned.
"It is a conspiracy to destroy my reputation. I don't know who is behind this. But I am innocent."
The fast bowler who has had a controversy-ridden career since his debut in 1997, rubbished allegations that he had late night-outs and misbehaved in India from where he was called back last month after testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone.
Shoaib also denied taking performance-enhancing drugs and said he was surprised to test positive for nandrolone since he had only been taking nutrients.
"These supplements are not banned under the anti-doping agency rules, so the ban is not fair and it should be reversed," said Shoaib, who has already appealed against the ban.
He also said that he had told the drug tribunal that they should ban the supplements, which are available in the market before they ban him, according to a report by a news agency.
According to credible sources, things are unlikely to improve for him in the near future as the Pakistan Cricket Board has already started investigating into why the team manager and coach did not discipline him for his misdemeanours in India.
"The Board has now got a confirmed report that on one occasion Shoaib took an unauthorised guest to his hotel room in the wee hours of the morning after creating a storm with the security people in the lobby and near the lift," a source stated.
The sources also said that even in the dope case, Shoaib's case was airtight as he had submitted a very incriminating statement to the drugs tribunal that banned him.
"The statement that he gave us is self explanatory. I don't know what he is complaining about now," one of the members said.
Shoaib and Asif's appeals are likely to be heard next week by a new appeals tribunal, headed by a former judge, Fakhrudding G Ebrahim and that also includes former Test player Hasib Ahsan.
"Basically we are waiting for the doctor on the panel, Danish Zaheer, to return from abroad in the next two days after which dates for the hearing would be announced," a board official said.
Although Woolmer has denied Kaul's allegations, it is no secret that he is not happy with Shoaib's behaviour since he made a comeback to the team in England after a six-month layoff following knee surgery.