Not ‘Breaking News’, BCCI Has Been Dope Testing Since 2010!
Contrary to the current contention, BCCI has been submitting the whereabouts clause to the WADA since 2010.
It was back in late 2009 that there misunderstanding between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) back in 2009-10 about anti-doping rules. That row was specifically related to the whereabouts clause, which required the cricketers to regularly submit details about where they were at any given time.
At the time, ICC officials had dashed to Mumbai where BCCI had met top players like MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar among others to thrash out a solution. BCCI’s best legal minds had got together with the ICC and worked towards a solution.
A solution has been in place for close to seven years now and no one was informed publicly about this. Hence, in the last couple of days a sense of panic and misinformation has been sought to be spread about an impending crisis in cricket or for BCCI.
The old bogey about superstar cricketers like Dhoni and Virat Kohli being reluctant to come under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ambit has yet again been sought to be raised by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
The facts are however to the contrary.
The ICC became a signatory of WADA in July 2006, but it began conducting in-competition at its events in 2002. Later in 2009, ICC introduced what they called as per their Anti-Doping Code, No Advance Notice Out-of-Competition testing. The ICC Anti-Doping Code developed whereabouts rules which came into effect on 1 August 2010. This was preceded by a considerably long discussion between the BCCI and the ICC about the same.
Indian players have been submitting details of their whereabouts as per the ICC Anti-Doping Code under the WADA charter since August 2010.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri on 8 November wrote a letter clarifying that NADA need not test Indian cricketers since the board is not a National Sports Federation.
It is relevant to mention here that BCCI is not a National Sports Federation. Accordingly, NADA does not have jurisdiction to conduct dope testing of Indian cricketers in any domestic or international event organised or under the aegis of the BCCI.Rahul Johri to NADA Chief Navin Agarwal
"In light of the aforesaid, there is no requirement for any BCCI official to co-ordinate with NADA for dope testing of Indian cricketers either during competitions or out of completions," said the letter.
These ICC whereabouts rules have seen the development of two pools of players.
1. International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP)
As per the WADA Code, the International Registered Testing Pool of players must file the required information in advance on a quarterly basis. The responsibility to file and keep the information about the individual’s whereabouts up-to-date is always the players; however they can also authorise a third party such as their manager or family member to file this information.
IRTP Selection Criteria
Players who meet the following criteria are included in the IRTP:
- Any player who has committed an anti-doping rule violation, under the WADA/ICC code; unless such player has not played in any International prior to the case.
- Any player in the NPP who has not during a continuous period of three months: played in either an International or Domestic Match, participated in a tour with a representative team of his board, and/or participated in at least two training sessions per week with a relevant team over a consecutive three week period.
- Any player in the NPP who is declared to have committed three NPP Player Violations in any twelve month period.
The ICC reviews the membership of the IRTP on a monthly basis.
2. National Player Pool (NPP)
With the support of the National Cricket Federation (NCF), players in this pool can file full details (location, full address, dates and times) of cricket whereabouts information (all team training(s), all matches, overnight hotel location(s) when with a team) for the upcoming month using the template forms provided by the ICC.
NPP Selection Criteria
The NPP is made up of those players meeting the criteria described below (as listed in the ICC Anti-Doping Code).
Each of the top eight ODI sides at any given date will have 11 of their top players as per the following criteria in the NPP:
- The wicket-keeper who has played the most One-Day International Matches in the twelve months prior to the NPP Review Date.
- The five highest-ranked bowlers in the team (as determined by the ICC’s official individual ODI Match rankings) as at the NPP Review Date.
- The five highest-ranked batsmen in the team (as determined by the ICC’s official individual ODI Match rankings) as at the NPP Review Date.
The ICC reviews the membership of the NPP almost every six months.
As per the above guidelines, the BCCI anti-doping cell led by the former India hockey player Dr Vece Paes works in close co-ordination with the ICC anti-doping department. The job of Paes and his team is to file the whereabouts details for Kohli & Co, irrespective of which pool they fall into. This has diligently been followed by the BCCI and through them by the Indian players since 2010.
The player pool has changed over the years because of number of personnel changes and of course retirements over this period of time, but the process has remained the same.
The biggest bone of contention currently is that the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is not conducting out of competition or in-competition testing or collecting whereabouts clauses of Indian cricketers.
But the BCCI, since it’s a member of the ICC, has been submitting the whereabouts clause through Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) to the WADA.
For all domestic tournaments, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), the BCCI has been employing a Swedish agency called International Doping Tests & Management (IDTM) to collect samples. The ICC on its part employs either IDTM or an Australian agency called Sports Drug Testing International (SDTI).
Whereas for the BCCI tournaments Paes & Co are directly involved, the ICC’s anti-doping department is in charge during any bilateral event or world tournament.
So BCCI is not only WADA compliant but also follows the ICC’s Anti-Doping almost to the last detail. The current controversy clearly seems to be a manufactured event with clear lack of understanding of the ICC Anti-Doping Code. Hopefully NADA will learn from WADA about the information provided by the ICC Anti-Doping department with regards to the BCCI-registered cricketers and thereby put an end to this unseemly controversy.
(Chandresh Narayanan is former cricket writer with The Times of India, The Indian Express, ex-Media Officer for ICC and current media manager of Delhi Daredevils. He is also the author of World Cup Heroes, Cricket Editorial consultant, professor and cricket TV commentator.)
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