South Africa news March 17, 2012

Rory Kleinveldt admits using banned drug

Cape Cobras allrounder Rory Kleinveldt, who has played two Twenty20 internationals for South Africa, will plead guilty to using marijuana after he failed an anti-doping test conducted in February. Kleinveldt was withdrawn from the Cobras squad on Friday for the remainder of the MiWayT20 challenge and is on provisional suspension.

Kleinveldt owned up to the misconduct after the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) made public that he had tested positive for a specified substance. "I need to admit to having acted irresponsibly. I have made a big mistake at a time when I should have known that what I was doing was wrong," he said in a statement. "As a person and a professional cricketer, I need to take responsibility for this and deal with the consequences of my actions. I apologise to my family, my franchise, my team-mates and the cricket fans who follow and support me".

Marijuana is classified as a "specified substance" on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited Substances list which means that although it is banned, it is regarded as something which is unlikely to have been taken for performance-enhancing reasons. That could change the severity of the punishment meted out to Kleinveldt as WADA states that usage of a specified substance may call for a "greater reduction of a two-year sanction."

In previous marijuana-related cases, five South African players, including Herschelle Gibbs, were fined R10,000 (US$ 1,333) each after they were caught smoking joints in Antigua in 2001. In 1995, four New Zealand players were suspended after admitting to smoking in South Africa. Both these incidents took place before the ICC became a signatory of WADA, which means that a ban is not out of the question for Kleinveldt.

Although Cobras coach Richard Pybus said he was disappointed with not having Kleinveldt available for the rest of the competition, the franchise's staff would support their player. He will also have the backing of SACA, who will represent him at the anti-doping enquiry. "Rory is distraught at the moment" Tony Irish, SACA chief executive said. "He knows that he has made a mistake but he is the kind of person who is prepared to front up to it and take responsibility".

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article