February 28, 2002

Rummans handed fine and one-month ban for drug offence

New South Wales batsman Graeme Rummans has tonight been handed a one-month ban from all cricket and hit with a fine of $A2000 after being found guilty of a drug offence. The 25-year-old incurred the penalties following the return of a positive test to the banned masking agent probenecid late last year.

Following a hearing that spanned close to eight hours at the offices of the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) in Melbourne, a specialist panel found that Rummans had breached his responsibilities under the terms of the Anti-Doping Policy that applies to all state cricketers in Australia.

But the three-person Anti-Doping Committee also established that he had not gained an unfair advantage over other players in taking the substance. It is understood to have accepted the explanation that Rummans' use of probenecid had been for therapeutic purposes.

On entering the hearing, Rummans had faced the possibility of a two-year ban from all cricket conducted under the auspices of the ACB and the six state associations in Australia. The potential imposition of a penalty of that magnitude was the consequence of the return of two samples each found to contain traces of probenecid before a New South Wales state squad training session in December.

However, it is believed that the committee opted for a more lenient sentence when it learned that he had taken the drug to help remove a boil on his shoulder that had not responded successfully to other medication.

Acting on the basis of evidence provided by ACB Anti-Doping Medical Adviser, Dr Peter Harcourt, the committee fined Rummans and reduced his penalty to a one-month sentence that will sideline him from a maximum of four state games in total.

He had already been forced to miss the Blues' ING Cup Final win over Queensland last Sunday, and the team has two preliminary matches remaining in this season's Pura Cup competition. It also retains a remote chance of qualifying for the final of that competition beginning on 20 March.

The ban takes effect retrospectively from 24 February, which means that Rummans will potentially be free to play district cricket again later this season.

A left handed batsman from the St George club in Sydney, Rummans has played a total of 21 first-class and 25 one-day matches for New South Wales since making his senior debut for the state in 1997-98. He was the captain of the state's colts team in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and also toured Zimbabwe with an Australian Academy team in 1998-99. His solitary first-class century was registered in the second match of that tour.

He appeared in six first-class and two limited-overs games for the Blues this season before the ACB was made aware last week of his positive test result.

Former Western Australian paceman Duncan Spencer is the only other Australian cricketer to have returned a positive drug test. In a case heard in April of last year, he was barred from participating in international and interstate cricket for a period of 18 months in the wake of his use of the banned steroid nandrolone.