CHENNAI: The curious case of contradictory figures has made the latest doping incidents in Indian cricket more intriguing. While the sports ministry continues to quote a higher number when it comes to positive cases in 2019 until now, the BCCI maintains it is three. According to reliable sources, of the 215 samples collected so far this year, the sports ministry claims five tested positive. This doesn’t tally with the list released by BCCI.
On Tuesday, the BCCI revealed that three cricketers including Prithvi Shaw, who was part of the Indian team as recently as December, tested positive for banned substances. The procedure followed by the BCCI with regards to Shaw raised eyebrows, given that the test was conducted on Feb 22 and the result came only in the first week of May.
Such a delay is unheard of. The BCCI pays around $250 (`17,415) to the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) to deliver the results for a domestic match within 10 days. BCCI’s anti-doping manager Abhijit Salvi revealed to this daily that the delay was caused because of some technical issue.
The ministry continues to have doubts over the BCCI’s mechanism. It feels the system put in place by the cricket board is not robust enough to catch dope cheats. The ministry claims their figures for the years 2016 (1/154), 2017 (1/269), 2018 (2/223) match that of the BCCI, but not in 2019.
“I don’t know where the ministry has come up with these numbers. We have three cricketers who failed the test and all of it has been made public and action has been taken. There is no chance of us hiding anything because all the numbers are sent to the ICC and WADA. It is not just us who send it, even the NDTL marks them for each and every test conducted,” Salvi said.
The BCCI conducts around 250 tests per year and it is learnt that close to 100 samples were collected during this year’s IPL. With regards to domestic cricket, the BCCI ensures at least two from each team are tested in a season and this includes in-competition and out-of-competition tests.While all of it is sent to the WADA, the ministry wants the BCCI to follow the universally accepted anti-doping guidelines set by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). There have been developments on this front, with the BCCI agreeing to be part of NADA on a trial basis. But, they haven’t been able to reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, National Cricket Academy (NCA) COO Tufan Ghosh is likely to face an inquiry for allowing Shaw to use the facilities last month as it falls under his suspension period. It is learnt that there was no clear communication from BCCI officials to neither the NCA nor the selectors who had even included Shaw in the India A team.