CHENNAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will explore the possibility of taking International Cricket Council’s (ICC) help or International Dope Test and Management (IDTM) to collect dope samples during the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL). With the tournament scheduled to begin in the United Arab Emirates on September 19, sources at National Anti-Doping Association (NADA) revealed that the BCCI is yet to reach out to them as they sense the IPL is keeping its options open.
Ever since the BCCI came under NADA ambit in 2019, the anti-doping body has been collecting samples from the cricketers. While NADA took care of the expenses for the testing samples in Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s and Duleep Trophy, it won’t do so for the IPL as the tournament isn’t a national event. The anti-doping body considers IPL to be a professional league that pays entertainment tax and if the BCCI wants to use its services then it has to pay for testing and other costs involved.
With the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) remaining shut and NADA thin on resources it is not clear whether the BCCI will acquire their services as it would also require them to take their team to UAE. Moreover, the NADA will also ask the BCCI to take care of the travelling expenses. This might open the door for the BCCI to look at other alternatives considering that NADA might even out-source collecting samples as it is being held away from India.
While it is free to use the services of UAE’s National Anti-Doping Committee (NADO), it is understood that the BCCI might even approach the ICC to cut down the expenses. The ICC takes care of testing players in certain T20 leagues like Bangladesh Premier League in association with IDTL, which is based out of Sweden.
In fact, until 2019 when the BCCI was hesitant to come under NADA’s ambit, the board was using IDTM services for collecting samples in the IPL, which was then sent to NDTL for testing. Unlike NDTL which charges around $280 for each test, it is expensive in Doha -- the closest lab from UAE.
Each sample test costs $350 in Doha and it might go up further as the BCCI expects its results to be out in 48 hours because teams have matches every three days approximately. It is understood that the BCCI will reach out to NADA after the IPL Governing Council meeting on Sunday. If they are not able to reach an agreement, the BCCI will look to ICC for help as it expects the tests to be cheaper considering the global body’s long association with IDTM.
If need be, the BCCI can also try virtual doping testing methods, which is already put in place in the US. For example, a player will get the testing kit via courier following which he would get a call from the sample collector. After submitting the documents online, the player will be required to take a sample collector on a virtual tour of the place he is staying to show there is no other individual around. He then gets to turn-off the camera while giving the sample. But soon after, he has to place the sample in front of the camera and run a temperature check to show it is fresh and seal it.
He then has to give a blood sample using a device in front of the camera. The sealed kit is then couriered to a laboratory. This would ensure the players don’t come in contact with any new individuals who are out of the bio-bubble which the BCCI will ask the franchises to create during the IPL.