The Indian board has a zero-tolerance approach to doping and isn't against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) but it wants some flexibility on the 'whereabouts' clause, a senior BCCI official has said. India's main reservation about the contentious clause is the security of its players, Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's chief administrative officer, said.
"There are two cricketers who absolutely cannot disclose their whereabouts," Shetty told Cricinfo. "There is a security concern with them, and they are under security cover so I don't think they can disclose their whereabouts on a daily basis."
Shetty did not specify the names of the two players but there have been reports of threats to the lives of Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, the Indian captain. Both these cricketers are among the 11 Indians on the ICC's testing pool and have raised concerns about the WADA's 'whereabouts' clause, which requires them to divulge information three months in advance about their location for an hour every day for the next quarter to facilitate out-of-competition random testing. The BCCI and the players have also said that the clause is a violation of privacy statutes.
"What they are asking is not for the moon, they are asking for just some flexibility in approach. Tendulkar is on record saying that we are available for tests every day, during the matches, during tour, during camps, we are not saying you don't test us," Shetty said. "We have made it very clear we are all for zero-tolerance, we want doping tests, and we are not opposed to that. All that we are saying is that there should be flexibility in the whereabouts clause. We are asking for a more practical and structured system, that's all. If they are playing for 9 months, 10 months a year, they are free to catch them any time, take them for the test. They can also do the test during match training camps and coaching camps. Even when they are not playing for the country, you can do the tests during Ranji matches."
Shetty said that the Indian players have voiced their opposition to the whereabouts clause right from the time they were briefed about it. "The first time was on the New Zealand trip when ICC came to educate the cricketers," he said. "At that time the players expressed reservations, and from then on the Indian board has consistently been telling ICC that our players have a problem."
Players from all other cricket-playing countries have agreed to WADA regulations despite expressing similar reservations. The Indian board and its players, meanwhile, have faced heavy criticism at home on their refusal to abide by the code. But Shetty wasn't concerned about the critics. "We don't want to get into that," he said. "We will take care of our own problems, why should we bother about others. They have got a right to criticise, so they can criticise. We have got a right to express our opinion and we'll express our opinion. The board secretary has written to the ICC about the problem."