While the Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has clarified that it’s the prerogative of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to decide which agency should conduct dope tests and regulate India’s cricketers at international and domestic level, it’s a matter of fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) follows a process as advised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Since the launch of the IPL in 2008, the Swedesh-based International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM) has been collecting samples of hundreds of India’s domestic cricketers who take part in the senior tournaments like the Ranji Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy among others .
A BCCI official privy to information on these matters said: “We wanted to be dope compliant from 2008 when the IPL began and we followed the ICC Code which had an arrangement with IDTM. For the first four years the samples were tested at an overseas laboratory. That’s how Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif was banned for one year in 2009 after he tested positive for steroids in the inaugural year of IPL (2008). From the 2011-12 onwards, the blood samples have been tested at the the WADA-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in New Delhi. Players have been tested during the domestic matches. From the 2013-14 season more than 200 cricketers have undergone in-competition and out of competition testing. I don’t think these high numbers are touched in other cricket playing countries.”
According to the official figures from 2011-12 season to 2016-17 season, available with Sportstar , the NDTL gave “Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) only on five cricketers after testing the players 1,144 times. And from 2008 to 2011, 156 samples were collected for an overall figure of 1300 (1147 in-competition and 153 out of competition).
In all, 125 cricketers were tested in the 2011-12 domestic season that included the IPL and Champions League Twenty20; none was reported under AAF. The following season, 173 cricketers were tested and three cricketers were reported, one of whom tested positive for metabolite of Marijuana at a concentration 31.2 ng/ml when the threshold limit was 19ng/ml. The WADA Executive Committee revised the threshold limit to 150 ng/ml and the case was closed and the cricketer, WADA and ICC were informed.
In the second case, a three-member review board appointed by the IDTM ruled that the sample collected was compatible with an inhalation use of glucocorticosteroids that was not banned under the WADA prohibited list in 2013 and that the player did have a previous Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate.
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In the third case (Pradeep Sanghwan), the NDTL reported an AAF of 3-OH Stanozolol and 16-beta hydroxyl stanozolol (Anabolic steroid). The NDTL further said that the Anti-Doping Tribunal concluded that the player had committed an Anti-Doping RuleViolation (ADRV) and imposed a period of ineligibility for 18 months.
The NDTL did not report a single AAF case in 2013-14 and 2014-15, and in the one case it reported in 2015-16, it said that the cricketer’s physician confirmed that the cricketer had been suffering from bronchial asthma for many years and that he had been advised inhaled Ventolin sos. Due to high levels of pollution in Delhi on the test day, the player had to take multiple puffs of Ventolin to control his breathlessness. The NDTL report also said that “as per the WADA Code, the player was entitled to apply for a retroactive TUE, which was duly submitted to the TUE Committee appointed by IDTM and the committee granted a retroactive TUE Certificate for one year for the use of Salbutamol.”
Last season (2016-17), the NDTL reported one player under AAF for Terbutaline (Beta-2 agonist). The case has been referred to the Review Board, the player has been charged and according to the NDTL, the case is currently in Results Management phase.
In the case of international cricketers, the ICC gives to the BCCI the names of cricketers (men and women) who have been included in the testing pool, based on their ICC rankings. The BCCI in turn keeps the ICC informed of their whereabouts during match days.
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