THE CORDON HOME

BLOGS ARCHIVES
SELECT BLOG
December 22, 2006

The drugged cricketer

WADA yadda yadda

Kamran Abbasi

WADA's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is an unusual one in that it is bypassing cricket's ruling body. The ICC has examined its own regulations where it is written as clear as day that the ICC code applies to ICC events. The court of arbitration and WADA boast even longer documents about their rules of engagement, and a first glance at these does not make it immediately obvious whether or not the court of arbitration has any jurisdiction in this instance. Where there is any room for doubt expect lawyers to jump in with arguments that might take an eternity to resolve. If the PCB does not accept the court of arbitration's jurisdiction in this case and the ICC believes that its own code does not apply to the PCB's out of tournament testing--the fact that this is not a joint application by WADA and ICC speaks volumes in my view--we could be in for the biggest farce in the history of sport. Presumably it was not beyond the wit of man or woman for WADA, ICC, and PCB to have done a little scenario planning and risk management before they signed up to the various doping codes and processes.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Kamran Abbasi

Keywords: Drugs

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by wasim on (January 18, 2007, 22:57 GMT)

frankly i believe the pcb's decision to throw out the suspension o f the concerned players is disgusting. they effectively admitted to doping when they refuse to have their b sample tested. in any other country it would seem this sort of admission would result in penalty and suspension, but not in pakistan. All you appenrently have to do is admit to it and say you didn't realise, this is a farce. pleading ignorance to rules and regulations to which your country should abide by wheather its the pcb, icc or wada doing the testing they should be held to the highest standard, they are after all playing international cricket on the world stage. look what happened to shane warne, true the testing was done in a different situation, but it he didn't realise exactly what he had taken but he admitted responsibility and took the punishment. pakistan's cricket players pleaded ignorance and blamed everyone else they could for their positive results, disgraceful. And it is a wonder pakistan comes under so much scrutiny as a cricketing nation by everyone else, we don't want to play by their rules we have our own, if things don't suit us we'll complain about it, ie the hair incident. frankly its about time the pcb stand up, grow up and actully hold themselves to a world standard like everyone else instead oof trying to bend, change, manipulate and operate by their own set of rules and standards. THEY SHOULD BE BANNED

Posted by Jaja on (January 17, 2007, 9:42 GMT)

Quick thought, if M Asif was found with steroids in his body, so what? How could they possibly have given him an unfair advantage? His bowling is effective because of his consistent line and length, what use would steroids have been? referring to Akhtar I see a slight case, given that his bowling style is a lot about pace, but how would steroids have unfairly helped him bowl yorkers, slower balls etc.

Posted by Anurudda on (January 6, 2007, 21:15 GMT)

Kamran, I am a Sri Lankan and have been following the debate on use of drugs in sports with great interest and find your blog entertaining, balanced, objective and free from bias, though some of the responses to your comments have been over the top and jingoistic. In this regard I wish to draw your attention to the following commentary on Sri Lanka’s champion sprinter Susanthika Jayasighe, the only Asian to win a medal in the short sprints at the Olympics and in my humble opinion, an effort that was far superior to Sri Lanka’s 1996 world cup win (rationale, world cup features a maximum of dozen teams whereas there are over 150 nations competing at the Olympics)

“In 1995, during a meet held in Indonesia, she (Susanthika) returned a positive drug test and was facing a suspension from the International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF]. But the Sri Lankan federation backed her claim that the test had shown a wrong result and a team of doctors pitched in to help prove to the Toyota testing labs that there had been errors in the test. She was cleared. She was tested again in 1998 for steroid use, and one urine test showed large quantities of nandrolone. She said the test was suspect because the urine sample was not properly sealed in her presence and she was not accompanied by a personal representative, a right guaranteed by law. "It was a trick. I was checked after every race, and there was no problem," she said. She said she had taken various medicines ordered by her doctors but that she knew nothing about nandrolone. In 1999, the IAAF exonerated her of all doping charges, saying Sri Lankan athletic authorities had failed to establish a conclusive case against her. The decision freed her to compete in the Olympic Games in Sydney. (AFP 10/12/98) “

source of article http://www.doha-2006.com/gis/SPORTS/CO/IGCOParticipantInfo.aspx?Register=0005814446 )

The reason I reproduced the above is to show that the system is flawed and irrespective of the guilt or otherwise of Akhtar and Asif, the existing system, process and procedures are inadequate. Not only Susanthika but even Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones was accused and subsequently cleared of taking drugs though her present and previous husbands, Tim Montgomery and C.J.Hunter were banned. (Incidentally will the IAAF expunge the record of Montgomery since he is a cheat?). Also world record holder of both the women’s’ 100 and 200 meters Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo) died at a very young age under mysterious circumstances soon after that astounding effort . No woman has come close to beating that record in the last 22 years. That should be another world record! Further, Base ball players Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire (he had the highest number of home runs in a season) have been under a cloud of suspicion for most of their respective careers.

My point is, its easy to level charges against a Sportsman, Celebrity, Politician or a layman but such an accusation should be backed up with proper and adequate evidence. Personally I have no sympathy for Shoaib Akhtar who is too much of a showboat for my liking. He is over rated and not a true great like Imran, Akram or Waqar. However , this is not a popularity contest and who am I to deprive Akhtar , Marion Jones or Susanthika Jaysasighe of their livelihood unless the use of performance enhancing drugs is proved beyond a shadow of a doubt .The mere presence of minute quantities of nandralone , stanazalol or any other drug should not automatically mean a death sentence nor give arm chair critics a license to character assassinate a player.The comment by Inthikab Alam on Akhtar’s nocturnal activities is laughable , the criterion for selection should be skill on the field not religiosity or lack of it .If Akhtar can hurtle a ball at 100 m.p.h. , no one should bother if he cavorts with actresses/ fashion models off the playing field . Seems like ever since Inzamam started growing a beard, the clean shaven guys are having a tough time. As mentioned earlier , if Akhtar can bowl 25 overs and 10 overs in the Test and ODI respectively, he should be allowed to play .My personal opinion is, the Primadonna Akhtar should be dropped on the basis that he is unfit (he huffs and puffs after bowling a couple of overs) and not on any other trumped up charge.

I agree with the majority, Sports should be drug-free, BUT towards that end the ICC should spend their billions on a state of the art research facility to ensure proper drug testing of ALL cricketers are carried out periodically. Despite the advancement in medical science, drug testing procedures are still in its infancy even in the developed countries such as the USA and Europe. (case in point Marion Jones and Susanthika Jayasinghe’s conviction and subsequent exoneration).

Today it was Akhtar and Asif but tomorrow it could be another from a country like mine which does not possess research facilities to disprove a potential false charge or any mitigating factors pertaining to use or non-use of drugs. One can draw a parallel with the throwing controversy which hurt our Murali before it was proved scientifically that even a purist like Lillee, Holding , Imran , Hadlee etc. were ‘chuckers’ based on the old law of 15 degrees .

In summary, unless there is a world class institution performing uniform, universal, error free, MANDATORY drug tests on ALL international players, the ICC or a local body should refrain from constituting a Kangaroo court and passing ill considered judgment that affects the career and employment of a player from ANY country.

Posted by The Prophet on (January 2, 2007, 3:43 GMT)

The strength of world cricket has traditionally been its adherence to the rules of the game and the spirit of the competition. Shoab and his mates have clearly flouted both and the comment of Mr Abbasi are just a continuation of the effort of Asian countries to undermine both.

Posted by Shehzad Ghani on (December 30, 2006, 6:08 GMT)

What if Asif is tested again in S. Africa and tests positive again? What if these tests are not done by PCB but ICC?

Posted by Mubbashar Ali and Siraj Ali on (December 29, 2006, 13:54 GMT)

To our colleague Euceph Ahmed and other Pak Spin bloggers

Any person in the world has the right to challenge our arguments. However, you do not have the right to second guess our motivations and attribute certain biases to us. Let us be clear that we are all fans/sportspeople with a great deal of passion and therefore nobody has supremacy of opinion. Specifically addressing the issues raised in your recent posting, we have been consistent from the outset in arguing that there must be a solid legal basis for the resolution of this matter whether the players are innocent or guilty.

You may wish to word-play, distort & de-contextualise the substantive points made with highly simplistic generalisations but we challenge ALL to critically examine and test the submissions made as part of the debate in arriving at their own conclusions.

Ethics and Morality are no doubt at the core of the issue. We re-emphasise that the whole doping issue must be dealt with in a consistent fashion under a process that demonstrates the hallmarks of integrity. However, a great deal of subjective judgment is focusing on the ethic/moral values of the punishment and conveniently ignores the fact that ethics and morality demand due process and basic legal safeguards as required for an internationally enforceable code.

On your point (and the overly creative descriptions of others) about simple readers and ‘legal smokescreens’ it perhaps serves to demonstrate that those entering into such a legal process, in which they are neither qualified nor competent, face a dizzying array of complex legal and medical issues and competing arguments to comprehend. (Lest we forget they also would need to attain a relevant basic knowledge of human biology and principles of law). Secondly, in order for a ‘simple reader’ to begin to make an informed judgment it is a necessary starting point to appreciate and understand this ‘legal smokescreen’.

To clarify we are not attorneys at law or any other unrelated invective you wish to cast upon us. Instead collectively we have a legal/engineering background and considerable experience of dealing with Governmental regulatory bodies. We are not talking about a perceived lack of professionalism. What we are talking about is submitting yourself to the highest levels of scrutiny and being able to deliver to the highest standards. It is not a ‘utopian’ world but it is the real world where the above is a valid expectation. It was the ICC/PCB who did not deliver and should correctly have their professional reputation traduced. The line has to be drawn when international regulatory bodies fail to deliver properly upon their obligations.

What is worthy of more thought is why sporting organisations such as FIFA and the ICC with turnovers the size of small countries are quick to protect their commercial revenue( e.g. size of bat labels, preventing ambush marketing) but do not deal with the ‘ethics’ related to the doping issue with anything like the same vigour.

Finally we leave the very last word with Imran Khan. Appearing on NDTV, on a totally unrelated matter, he was asked how to deal with failure. He responded (paraphrasing); by honestly analysing your failures and then do the hard work to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes. That is perhaps a lesson for every single individual involved in this case.

Posted by Syed......................USA on (December 29, 2006, 4:38 GMT)

I have been enjoying the war of words betweeen some regular contributors of this blog ( Javed,Mubasshar,Siraj and euceph)sorry for not using ur full names,no offence and plz don't start a new debate over this matter.I just want to suggest that Javed from Canada, Siraj and Mubasshar should seriously consider providing some feedback,input, words of wisdom, delicate legal and moral matters, their implications in this important issue TO PCB, to give them a sound base to prepare for another tough battle ahead, as there is always a good chance for them to goof up again like they did with the initial tribunal , not necessarily the result but the poor conduct of the investigation and hearing, in a very hasty and unprofessional manner. Guys keep up the good work, but don't take matters personally,remember, the human nature and personality make up can drive people in different directions sometimes to a clear and logical path and unfortunately sometimes leads them to certain misconceptions and misbeliefs.

Thankyou ALL, Syed.........USA.

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (December 28, 2006, 22:20 GMT)

First of all I must congratulate KAMRAN ABBASSI for creating so much interest in such a dull and boring subject of drug use and abuse, and WADA's yada, yada and their stupendous clauses and code of conduct and its ineffectiveness in its implication of the rules.

Before, proceeding further, I would like to quote a "holy passage" from the ever-wise-man, Mr. Euceph Ahmad's post:

"As for the issue of drugs education, I believe that no flyers, seminars, and classes could’ve served a bigger purpose than Shane Warne’s ban – no less than an all-time great to have ever played the game. Anyone who has ever seriously touched a cricket bat knows that name and knows about his dope related ban. What is your definition of dope-related education anyway?"

Mr. Euceph, right on top of this very page, next to PAK SPIN is BOB WORLDS.........click on it and see for yourself. Bob wrote so much about your icon, your hero, Shane Warne (also, the Australian press is bragging about his retirement). You tell me that how many people have responded to Bob blog? ZERO, from the date he wrote till today its zero, zilch, none whatsoever! May be a DUCK would be easier for you to understand :-)

So, your question is answered my friend and my point is: Yes, many people know who Shane Warne is but, it is also a fact that no one pays any attention to Shane Warne's personal life. Besides, you are forgetting that most of the Pakistani players (domestic and international level) are not so educated. So, do you think they must have read about Shane Warne's doping case in that much detail? Or his current pursuits i.e., after retirement his main ambition is to get his wife back, who left him after his sex scandal? Please, Mr. Euceph get real and don't use Shane Warne as a Bench Mark of everything from his leg spin to doping and remember this is Pak spin. :-)

Mr. Raza Zaidi, quoting my "text" and turning it back on me? :-) Thank you Sir for your generosity!

For your information, like any other bug or a virus this one too has various shades, colours and names besides legal, textual and intellectual, it is also known as sentimental, emotional and verbal diarrhea. And, you too have got the bug or the bug got you, in either case its the same and Sir, you too have joined the crowd who are the victims of this epidemic. If you can't cure it endure it.

Btw, who are you asking to spare you, Mubbashar Ali and Siraj Ali? I think they did a wonderful research and came up with some very good legal and logical points and explanations, if it is beyond your comprehension or if you think that the kitchen is too hot for you then you can leave the kitchen. There is no compulsion and you are not obliged to take the heat or to eat or to take a bite and then complain about the unpleasentness of diarrhea and its side effects. ;-)

I hereby confirm that I am not going to add anything more in this thread, as there is nothing much left to add after the legal aids and experts have contributed so much. Its time to move on to a new thread in the New Year.

All the best to ALL of you, especially to Kamran Abbassi for making this whole blog an interesting reading.

Posted by Kashif Malik on (December 28, 2006, 21:13 GMT)

Several of you have already concluded that both the bowlers are guilty just because they tested positive. Fortunately for them and most of us this is not how it works in the real world.

You may have read recent reports in the media of how the original tests were flawed, so much so that Asif's record was undated and it could not be established whoes urine sample was being tested. In light of this how can you be so sure both are without doubt Guilty.

Following on from this the original tribunal's verdict was tainted and the second unreliaable. ICC have effectively washed its hands from this debacle and WADA feels it must intervene for reasons (legal or moral) still unclear.

Given all the uncertainty surely they must be given the benefit of doubt-why should they be punished for the failures of others.

Posted by Anam on (December 28, 2006, 2:41 GMT)

I dont think so there is much to say regarding WADAs decisions because they seem pretty much right but PCB was the one who let the players loose even after knowing the fact they took "drugs" and were freed after winning the argument of being non guilty...According to that scenerio with all the drama PCB created, they should be fined instead of players being banned. On the other hand if WADA is to ban they should punish the players maybe for a few months before the world cup not for years because they won the case of proving themselves non guilty...just a thought

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

All articles by this writer