India’s cricket board has agreed to have their players tested by the country’s anti-doping agency, an top government official said Friday, ending years of defiance.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had long voiced concerns about the quality of testing by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and relied on an independent service provider for sample collection.
But the recent back-dated suspension of teenage batsman Prithvi Shaw for a doping violation further pressure on the BCCI to come under NADA’s ambit.
Sports secretary Radheshyam Jhulaniya said BCCI officials had told the government that they would abide by the rules which apply to all other sporting disciplines.
“We also said if (testing) kit (of NADA) is a concern, anything which is accredited by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) we have no issue,” Jhulaniya said.
“The second issue they raised was regarding the quality of dope testing — dope control officers who collect samples. We told them that our dope control officers are well trained.”
BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri, who met Jhulaniya to discuss the issue in New Delhi, said the board will “follow the law of the land”.
“We have raised quite a few issues which the sports secretary said will be addressed by them. We have agreed to bear the differential cost of high quality testing,” Johri told reporters.
The move brings BCCI directly under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which could help International Cricket Council push the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics.
Indian cricket stars had resisted falling under NADA’s purview due to a contentious ‘whereabouts clause’ regarding out-of-competition testing.
The clause requires every athlete to be available for testing on three specific dates in a year when they are not competing, inviting sanctions from WADA if they fail to comply.
“NADA will carry out the tests whenever and wherever they want,” said Jhulaniya.
“World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) clause 5.2 gives the authority to the national anti-doping agency to carry all testing in its territory irrespective of the athletes’ country.”
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell was banned for one year by the Jamaican Anti-Doping Agency for a whereabouts clause violation in January 2017.
Drug abuse in cricket was brought to the fore when Australian spin legend Shane Warne was banned for a year after testing positive for diuretics on the eve of the 2003 World Cup.