Don’t think cricketers were any less cautious before, says BCCI anti-doping manager

BCCI anti-doping manager Abhijit Salvi stated that NADA’s entry may not necessarily push cricketers to be more careful about observing anti-doping protocol.

Prithvi Shaw's ban rules him out of India's home series against South Africa and Bangladesh.   -  K.V.S. Giri

A new chapter in Indian cricket begins on Friday, with the BCCI now coming under the ambit of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).

The anti-doping agency could get to work during the Duleep Trophy outing between India Red and India Blue, which commences at Alur grounds here on Friday. The players will be subject to out-of-competition testing as well — generally regarded as the most effective form of doping control.

Cautious approach

Abhijit Salvi, BCCI’s anti-doping manager, stated that the board will take a cautious approach to the new relationship. “We haven’t worked with NADA before. We are hopeful that they will do a good job,” Salvi told Sportstar on Thursday.

Salvi stated that NADA’s entry may not necessarily push cricketers to be more careful about observing anti-doping protocol. “I don’t think that the cricketers were any less cautious before. The cricketers were aware of the dos and don’ts before NADA came in, and yet some of them got caught. They were well aware of the consequences of their actions earlier too. People make mistakes, be it intentional or unintentional,” he said.

The most high-profile case of a player making a mistake came a few weeks ago, when talented teenager Prithvi Shaw was suspended for eight months for a doping violation.

NADA to decide punishment

As per the new guidelines, if a player is caught for a doping violation, the NADA will decide the quantum of punishment. This is in contrast with the earlier practice, where it was the BCCI which took action against the offending players.

Asked if the BCCI was worried about an external body exerting such power, Salvi replied, “It is too early to say. Let us wait and watch.”

Salvi stated that NADA has addressed and resolved BCCI’s concerns about NADA maintaining high standards. “NADA will use high-quality test kits, and the dope control officers assigned for testing will be registered doctors. So whatever apprehensions we had have been resolved,” he said.

The BCCI will continue to work with players on the anti-doping education programme. “Our pre-season education programme has covered 11-13 States so far, and we want to complete the remaining States before the Vijay Hazare Trophy begins,” Salvi said.