Prithvi Shaw doping ban warning bell for young cricketers

Cricketers, particularly those who have been at the NCA or with the India under-19, `A’ and the senior team, have attended classes and sessions that specifically deal with the dangers of using banned substances. Shaw has been a part of all three sides.

Shaw is a 19-year-old top-order batsman with enormous potential and made such a dazzling start to his international career against the West Indies last year.   -  BCCI

Prithvi Shaw’s suspension for consuming a substance, banned by WADA, should serve as a warning for other emerging cricketers.

The youngster with loads of talent committed several breaches while drinking what he claims to be a cough syrup, one that contained terbutaline.

Now terbutaline, prohibited in and out of competition, is known to increase muscle strength and enhance endurance.

Cricketers, particularly those who have been at the NCA or with the India under-19, `A’ and the senior team, have attended classes and sessions that specifically deal with the dangers of using banned substances. Shaw has been a part of all three sides.

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And there is a clear protocol to be followed. When cricketers, especially those who have represented India recently, take a new medicine, they are supposed to get the approval of Dr Abhijit Salve of the BCCI or celebrated physio Patrick Farhat, or NCA physio Aashish Kaushik.  

These men, who have a complete understanding of the subject, can guide the cricketers. Shaw did not consult them, nor, at the very least, the Mumbai Ranji team doctor.

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But then, Shaw is a 19-year-old top-order batsman with enormous potential and made such a dazzling start to his international career against the West Indies last year.

Then fitness concerns proved a roadblock and now comes the latest setback. Things are going wrong for this prodigy from Mumbai.  

When Sportstar asked Indian batting great Dilip Vengsarkar for his opinion, he said, “You know, he comes from a very humble background. Prithvi lost his mother, and his father used to have a tough life.”

Vengsarkar added, “Prithvi’s knowledge about things other than cricket is limited. He wouldn’t have thought of a banned substance when he purchased the cough syrup at night from the pharmacy. From now on he will be very careful, even when he orders a bowl of soup!”

Tough period

Vengsarkar observed, “I think the punishment meted out to Prithvi is harsh. The suspension should have been for a lesser period because I genuinely believe it was an innocent mistake. And he is a player with so much potential.”

The former Indian captain said, “He cannot play cricket before mid-November and faces a tough period ahead.”

What Shaw needs now is a mentor, someone who can guide him through the difficult phase and Vengsarkar would only be too happy to take up the responsibility.

Shaw needs to stay strong and focussed, banish the demon of self-doubts. Ability, he has in plenty.

His suspension ends on November 15 but Shaw is unlikely to be drafted into the Indian team immediately since he would have to prove his form and match fitness in domestic cricket. 

But then, light often emerges from darkness. Shaw could come out of the ordeal stronger and wiser. He has to keep the faith.