CHENNAI : While Prithvi Shaw’s suspension continues to throw up questions, especially how he was cleared to play IPL despite failing a dope test on February 22, BCCI officials are claiming that unforeseen delay on part of the National Dope Testing Lab (NDTL) added to the confusion.
As per protocol, since the BCCI doesn’t have dope control officers (DCOs), they outsource it to International Doping Tests & Management (IDTM). The samples are then handed over to NDTL, who after testing send them back to the BCCI within 10 days, as per WADA clause 126.96.36.199. While Akshay Dullarwar and Divya Gajraj’s samples came back within this period, BCCI Anti-Doping Manager Dr Abhijit Salvi told this newspaper that Shaw’s result was received in the first week of May.
“Since 2013, around 250 tests have been conducted by the BCCI across all domestic matches and IPL. As per rules, results of tests taken during domestic matches have to be reported to us in 10 days and for IPL it is 48 hours because it is a short tournament. But in case of Shaw, even though the tests were conducted on February 22, the result reached us only in the first week of May. So we could do little about his IPL participation as the player too needs to be given time, if he chooses to appeal for a second test,” Salvi said.
It is, however, not clear what caused the delay on part of NDTL, since it took more than two months. While the NDTL will not know whose samples are tested — IDTM sends it only with an identification code — why BCCI also didn’t follow it up remains unanswered. “Once the results came out, BCCI followed its procedure and asked the player whether he wants to appeal. Once he accepted it, there was no need to form a tribunal. As per WADA procedure and taking into account a ruling by the Court of Arbitration of Sports on Marin Cilic, we believed Shaw’s salt levels were on normal levels, that it didn’t have anything to do with enhancing performance. So we went with an eight-month suspension,” Salvi added.
While Shaw’s suspension has been back-dated like all cases in BCCI, they chose to start the period from March 16 as he has to serve at least four months. “There is no significance to March 16. We charged him on July 16 and he has to be banned for four months at least. So we started it from March 16. The BCCI has been conducting sessions before each domestic season and even before the IPL, on do’s and don’ts. We give them a book updated with the banned substances. These three cases happened in spite of that.”
By virtue of being the Anti-doping Manager, Salvi holds control over BCCI’s 24x7 helpline. On an average he receives 20-25 calls a day. “We tell them that even if you are taking crocin, please check with us. If they choose to ignore it, what can we do? And each team as a physio. This isn’t a failure of BCCI’s anti-doping system,” he said.
The results and suspension have been sent to WADA, who can challenge the duration of the ban. When contacted, an official said, while they cannot openly comment on this case, “...in general terms depending on the level of the athlete and at the event at which he/she was tested we have the right to appeal before CAS or the BCCI tribunal.”However, there isn’t any time frame for WADA to set this process in motion.