The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may do away with the practice of having a sportsperson in its anti-doping disciplinary panel when it takes up the case of paceman Pradeep Sangwan.
Sangwan recently tested positive for a steroid and the BCCI is likely to appoint a hearing panel soon.
The BCCI conducts its own dope tests in domestic cricket and has hired an international agency—International Dope Tests and Management (IDTM), Sweden-for sample collection and 'results management' which involves procedures running up to the hearing including a preliminary review of the test result.
The tests are conducted at the National Dope-Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in the Capital.
While the general practice is to have a three-member anti-doping disciplinary panel that includes a senior lawyer, a medical practitioner and a sportsperson, the BCCI is set to exclude the sportsperson from the committee.
It has also been learnt that the majority of members in the panel are likely to be foreigners and it could well be a two-member team that will decide the sanctions on Sangwan, who tested positive for stanozolol in an out-of-competition test.
Sangwan is only the second cricketer to have tested positive during the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif, who failed a drug test in the first edition of the T20 league, being the other.
Sunil Gavaskar was in the three-member tribunal which suspended Asif for one year after the Pakistan pacer tested positive for nandrolone in 2008.
However, the BCCI seems to have changed its policy this time.
“We have had exsportspersons in the past to hear grievances of the players, but they don’t have much idea about doping,” a BCCI official told Mail Today on Monday.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in India is a signatory to the WADA Code and a number of former sportspersons in its anti-doping disciplinary panels do not belong to disciplines most vulnerable to the malaise.
Cricket is one of the sports that do not have a huge list of players with dope- tainted pasts. But so are sports like table tennis, badminton and hockey. Representatives of such disciplines are there in the disciplinary and appeals panels that take up the cases brought forward by the NADA. Secrecy is another reason for the BCCI to ignore the services of NADA for ‘results management’ and hire the Swedish agency.
“We want to have the best people for the hearing panel and it doesn’t matter if the individuals are Indians or foreigners,” the BCCI official said.
Though the BCCI had objected to the original set of ‘whereabouts’ rules for out-of-competition testing under the ICC anti-doping code it had subsequently agreed with a watered-down version.
That version was also accepted by the WADA, which gives the individual international federations the right to frame its own ‘whereabouts’ rules.
Thus the ICC, and because of its affiliation to the international body, the BCCI, are considered as WADA Code-compliant.
Yet, there are major differences in cricket’s anti- doping rules compared to other sports. For example, the IPL anti-doping policy states that only tests conducted between 6.00am local time and an hour after the match will be considered in competition, and those outside that period will be out-of-competition.
It was during the latter period that Sangwan’s sample was collected.
The normal practice in other sport is to treat the entire duration of a competition as ‘in-competition’.