BCCI's anti-doping initiatives have been fantastic, says Ratnakar Shetty

While Shetty expressed disappointment over Shaw's anti-doping violation, he is pleased with the outcome of dope tests on Indian players from 2010.

India Test opener Prithvi Shaw was suspended for “inadvertently ingesting a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups”.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

The former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)General Manager, Game Development and the most experienced person across all departments of the BCCI, Ratnakar Shetty has praised the board's planning and implementation of its anti-doping programmes.

Surprised by young Indian cricketer Prithvi Shaw's doping suspension, Shetty said: “The BCCI is doing fantastic work in so for as putting in place anti-doping programmes are concerned. If there is one thing that the BCCI has done correctly, it’s on the anti-doping aspect. The BCCI can be proud of this fact. Thanks to Dr Vece Paes. He was very particular about this serious issue. I am very firm and clear that no cricketer who plays for India, India  ‘A’, Under -19, women’s teams and in the domestic tournaments can  claim excuse, other than his own mistake.”

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Staying abreast

It has been 10 years since the ICC began its anti-doping initiatives and the BCCI, too, has followed suit positioning educational programs for the teams that play in domestic tournaments. “A pocket diary is given to every player who plays in the BCCI tournaments, seniors, juniors, women and the girls.

"The WADA announces a fresh list of prohibited substances every January. It keeps on changing. Once the  WADA publishes the list, the anti-doping department of the BCCI brings out a pocket diary and it is sent to all the associations for distribution to its players and physios.”

According to Shetty, the pocket diary gives all information on anti-doping. “The BCCI has also set up a 24 x 7 hotline to advise players. The diary has a prohibited list. There is also an educational programme conducted for every team in every State. It’s compulsory. The BCCI has also put the anti-doping information on its website. If people feel that there is a lack of education, I disagree with that. The BCCI has been proactive on anti-doping for seven/eight years,” revealed Shetty.

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Positive outcome

While Shetty expressed disappointment over Shaw's anti-doping violation, he is pleased with the outcome of dope tests on Indian players from 2010. “I will say that no current Indian player since 2010, when the ICC started dope tests, has ever been charged. There was an occasion when the WADA believed that certain substances dissolve in water and hence certain things did not appear in urine samples. So in 2017, the ICC introduced blood tests. 

"But no Indian cricketer has given adverse results which reflects on the BCCI’s educational programmes and mechanisms. The Indian team physio has also taken a lot of effort. And there is a reporting system. The Indian players will always ask the physio about a particular drug.”

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'Can't feign ignorance'

The former BCCI official said that until last year Dr Paes was the overall in-charge of the BCCI’s anti-doping department along with Dr Abhijeet Salvi. “And now Abhijeet is the co-ordinator; he is available 24 x 7 on the hotline. Indian players can contact him 24 x 7. Now the players cannot feign ignorance.”

Referring to the cough syrup that Shaw consumed which had Terbutaline’, — prohibited both in and out of competitions part of the WADA list — Shetty explained: “There are two types of cough syrups. One contains the banned substance which is not supposed to be consumed and the other doesn’t.  It’s the player’s responsibility to ensure that he is consuming the right syrup. The player knows everything. Today every State team has a qualified physio; he’s part of the educational programme and he is trained. And all the States cooperate with anti-doping programmes.”