The ICC will soon engage with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to find out whether there can be a meeting ground on the contentious 'whereabouts clause' in the agency's amended code. The ICC board will study the results of this engagement - and whether they will lead to a satisfactory solution - when it convenes again in three months before arriving at a final decision on implementing the WADA code.
Until then, the ICC will continue in-competition and out-of-competition drug testing of all international cricketers without applying the 'whereabouts' clause. "We need to find a solution to the practical problem India is having, which is a constitutional issue of the country, which is why we decided to suspend the 'whereabouts' clause," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC CEO, said after the board meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The Indian board has been leading the opposition to the 'whereabouts clause' in the amended WADA code, which mandates cricketers, nominated to an international testing pool, to reveal to an ICC-nominated officer before every quarter. details of their location for an hour every day for the next three months to facilitate out-of-competition testing.
This whereabouts system was to start from August 1 but was stalled after the 11 Indian cricketers in the pool, including Sachin Tendulkar, refused to reveal the required information citing security and privacy concerns. The BCCI has backed the players on this issue and its stand, in turn, has been validated by India's Attorney-General, the country's topmost legal officer, who has conveyed to the Indian board that the clause violates constitutional privacy guarantees.
Besides, it has emerged during the ICC meetings in Johannesburg over the last few days that the BCCI's stand has been backed by other major boards, including Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; they have apparently conveyed this in writing to the ICC, too.
The Indian board's proposed solution is that the 'whereabouts clause' be scrapped altogether or that testing officials accept a guarantee from national boards that a player who needed to be tested would be made available within 24 hours of a request being made. But if WADA refuses to budge over the issue, the BCCI may eventually push for the ICC to develop and implement its own cricket-specific code.
"The doping question is best described as a work in progress," David Morgan, the ICC president, said. "We will have further meetings with WADA and we hope to have a situation that is acceptable to Wada and all the cricket-playing nations."