Dope scandal July 13, 2008

Sample taken at IPL tests positive

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Drugs in cricket
  • June 2008: Mohammad Asif is detained by authorities at Dubai Airport on suspicion of possessing drugs. He is released, but the PCB begins its own inquiry.
  • October 2006: Asif and Shoaib Akhtar are withdrawn from Pakistan's squad a day before the Champions Trophy in India after they test positive for nandrolone in an internal PCB test. Asif and Shoaib were banned, but are let off after appealing.
  • June 2005: Scotland bowler Asim Butt is banned for a year after he tests positive for Ecstasy, a recreational drug.
  • May 2005: Keith Piper, the Warwickshire wicketkeeper, is banned for the remainder of the season after failing a drugs test.
  • October 2004: Graham Wagg, the Warwickshire and England A allrounder, is banned from cricket until January 2006 after being found guilty of cocaine use.
  • February 2003: Shane Warne is sent home from the World Cup in South Africa after it's revealed that he tested positive for banned diuretics in samples provided to the Australian Sports Drugs Agency in Sydney. Warne is later handed a one-year ban.
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A sample taken from random testing at the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League has tested positive, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has confirmed to Cricinfo. This is the first step of the verification process, Modi said, and there are several stages before a player is deemed to have failed the test.

The tests were carried out by IDTM, a Sweden-based independent agency, in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards after the IPL adopted the ICC's anti-doping code. The samples were forwarded to a WADA-approved laboratory in Switzerland for testing. "Two days ago the IPL received a letter from the Swiss lab, mandated by WADA, which said one sample had tested positive," Modi said. "The IPL will follow set procedures from now on."

The first step, he said, is to match the identity of the player with the sample. Next, the player's form, filled out before the match, will be scrutinised for any pre-declared or prescribed drug by the IPL medical committee, consisting of an IDTM representative and Dr Anant Joshi; if that matches the drug found in the sample, the matter ends there and the player's name won't be revealed.

If the medical committee investigation reveals the player had not applied or been granted an exemption for using the drug found in the sample, the player, the concerned IPL franchise and national board will be informed in writing of the positive test that violates the anti-doping code. The player has the right to request that his 'B' sample [supplied at the same time as the one that tested positive] be sent for analysis, which he and his representative can attend along with an IPL representative.

If that too is positive, the matter will be taken up by the IPL's drugs tribunal, comprising of Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Ravi Bapat (ex-Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences) and lawyer Shirish Gupte. The tribunal will study the issue and take a decision in accordance with the code. "This is just the procedure," Modi said, "as of now we are at the first stage where one sample has tested positive. The issue is now with the IPL's medical committee. The identity of the player will matter only after we check on the pre-declared drugs."

The ICC, in a release, said it had been informed of the "adverse analytical finding" and that it was the responsibility of the ICC member, in this case the BCCI, to deal with the process. The ICC stated it will "be closely monitoring the situation to ensure the correct action is taken by the BCCI", and "retains a right of appeal if any penalty that may be imposed is inconsistent with the WADA code".

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo