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Indian cricket resists drug code

Gordon Farquhar | 17:06 UK time, Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is pursuing a high risk strategy in its refusal to adopt the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code, and its support of its leading players who apparently don't like the idea of being held fully accountable for what's inside them all of the time.

It's hubristic to say the least for India's top players, Mahendra Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and co to claim their security and human rights are more threatened by the demands of the whereabouts system than say Tiger Woods or Roger Federer. Golf and Tennis, however reluctantly, have seen the arguments for a common anti-doping system, and have signed their sports and top players up to it.

To have to give your whereabouts for an hour a day, 365 days a year strikes me as being a reasonable request given the sums of money India's cricketers earn, the example they're supposed to set for their nation's youth, and the bigger picture of sport accepting collective responsibility for sending out a strong message about drug taking and cheating.

Mahendra Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh

Some of the arguments being articulated in India over this are utterly naive. Various members of the BCCI are saying things like: "there's little risk of drug taking in cricket, it's a skill sport, not a power event, so steroids aren't likely to figure".

Wada has been saying for years that the temptation to shortcut a way to fitness, increase stamina and return more rapidly from injury through doping are among the biggest areas of risk that it is trying to combat.

The sums of money on offer in Twenty20 cricket and the Indian Premier League are surely temptation enough to the unscrupulous to find fitness and form through pharmacology.

The Indian Sports minister is urging the BCCI to see sense. The country's top Olympic athletes and Olympic Association are doing likewise, yet the cricket administrators have just caved in to the demands of their pampered national elite.

From the stories I've read coming out of India, it seems these new superstars, enriched by the insatiable desire for one-day cricket from the sponsors and television companies are running the risk of alienating the public.

The BCCI is now understood to be preparing to deliver a proposition to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that everyone else in the game rip up their adherence to the Wada code, and that a new, cricket-only doping policy be created, whose principle aim appears to be to pacify the 11 leading players in the proposed Indian doping pool.

A better example of the tail wagging the dog you will struggle to find... You might have expected the ICC to take a tough line given the deadline set for adoption and the pressure put on others, like Pakistan to comply.

The governing body's response has been to sit tight and wait until the next board meeting, saying: "What both the ICC and the BCCI are looking for is a practical and mutually acceptable solution to the current situation."

If Dick Pound were still the president of Wada, I can imagine there'd be a succinct answer: "...so adopt the code then".

His successor, John Fahey, is too much of a politician to be that blunt (more is the pity). He says: "Wada laments the decision of the BCCI and is concerned by it. Wada expects that Indian cricketers and the BCCI will understand that, as the ambassadors and guardians of their sport, they have a duty to protect its integrity and will see the benefits of cooperating with the ICC to enforce the World Anti-Doping Code like the rest of the world."

What we are heading for now is an interesting battle of wills, and the outcome will say much for who holds the power in world cricket, the ICC, or the superstars of the IPL.... what's best for sport and the big picture, or just the pursuit of self-interest?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Well, I might agree with the view that it's only the Indians who are against this except for the fact that I heard both Matthew Hayden and Jason Gillespie also decry the system on the BBC only a few days ago. So, I think to portray this as purely an India only problem is a little incorrect.

    They showed, however, the classic misunderstandings, e.g. you have to notify 6 months in advance for 24 hours/day with no changes allowed.

    I personally agree with the new system though and this author's viewpoint that a) it's a small price to pay in view of the rewards, and b) other sports have gone along with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Dear Gordon Farquhar

    You seem to be obsessed with making this an "India thing". So first of all please get off your high horse and face the reality, which is - BCCI will not agree to ridiculous demands just because "everyone else agrees" to it!

    Giving your whereabouts for one hour a day for 365 days is definitely asking too much. Why is this needed? What is the requirement? The wada guys need to review their technology/ methods for assesing "doping" as this seems more like a restriction due to under-developed or under-researched technology.

    Oh.. by the way Tendulkar, Dhoni, Yuvraj etc are far more precious than Tiger, Federer (who many Indians probably haven't heard about anyway!).

    P.S: who is dick pound?

  • Comment number 3.

    Presume Gordon doesn't is ignorant about both India and 'Cricket and Medicine' and has a fairly 'golden billion' pov.

    1. Risk and terrorist threats to Indian cricketers are far, far higher than a golfer and a tennis player, howsoever successful. It is not about their success as sportsmen, dear GF

    2. What WADA is primarily designed to do, is prevent use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (and any drugs that mask their use). In cricket any drug that improves performance in one dimension, worsens in another. For example, a fast bowler using something that improves power loses in accuracy (no wonder Glen the magician took more wickets without being particularly FAST). It works similarly for batsmen if you extrapolate the logic.

    3. Olympic sports have to follow WADA rules, because that is the only way they get exposure. Non olympic sports do not have to and should not have to follow stupid rules that are not as relevant to their sports.

    4. There are genuine reasons for using the same drugs to promote healing and there is absolutely nothing medically wrong with using them that way.

    5. There are certain world record breakers in Olympic sports who keep on taking Salbutamol related inhalers for childhood asthma. Medically justifiable, but which no doubt promotes performance.

    Think about that

  • Comment number 4.

    As shockingly arrogant and defensive as billionplus' opinion is, it is one shared by several posters on the cricinfo site. A surprising number of fans are on the side of the Indian cricketers and spouting the usual myths about Whereabouts (in particular, the fact that one can update one's location at short notice) and constitutional right to privacy. Never mind the amount cricketers earn and other excellent points brought up in your article.

    But they do bring up one valid point - what does cricket need WADA approval for? Even in its T20 form, cricket doesn't need the Olympics and the Olympics doesn't need cricket. The cricket bosses (and the mostly Indian fans who keep global cricket finances in the red) would welcome drugs being used to enhance the players' stamina so that they can play more cricket for the telly.

    And there'll be room for the pharmaceutical companies to chip in with sponsorship, which the cricket bosses will love even more. In a few years time, we'll all be watching the Wellcome Wizards take on the Bayer Buglers in some T20 final somewhere.

  • Comment number 5.

    billionplus,

    Do you perhaps live in, or have affection for India? These demands are not ridiculous at all - this system has reduced the amount of drug-taking in sport greatly - stopping athletes from having 'holidays' at Swiss clinics. And by the way why are India so precious? The Twenty20 result showed that they are not the best. Indai may have all the money in cricket, but not all the talent.

    P.S. Good Blog Gordon

  • Comment number 6.

    Billionplus:

    Of course it is an India problem because they are refusing to do it. Do you not find it suspicious that they are refusing this system? The problem people have is that the argument that it is too strenuous for them to let them know there whereabouts is redundant if the rest of the nations agree to do this. Why would it be too difficult for one nation and not another? Why would they refuse? Its a bit like making a settlement out of court when you can fight to clear your name? If you're innocent there shouldnt be a problem.

    Why is it asking so much for players to inform people of their whereabouts? They are professional sportsmen, getting paid a huge amount of money, and they will often have their schedules organised months in advance anyway.

    This is standard in most sports. Why should they not be accountable for their actions?

    Also you make some daft comment about Tendulker, Dhoni and Yuvraj being more precious than Tiger etc. Tiger Woods and Federer are far more renound sportsmen worldwide than those cricketers. Why does it matter that most Indians have not heard of them? the writer is using an example of how the top sportsmen in other other sports have submitted to this testing.

  • Comment number 7.

    Also the reason they need to know someones whereabouts at all times is so that they can arrange on the spot testing, with the knowledge that someone cannot say they are out of the country. I.e. so that they cannot time the doping with the knowledge that it wont show up on a drugs test.

  • Comment number 8.

    As professional sportsmen surely they know that it is a 'duty' and part of their life to take part in drug tests. It doesn't matter if you are a cricketer, footballer, athlete or jockey.
    Why should they be any different? Perhaps they have something to hide?

    http://www.loserscomesecond.com/

  • Comment number 9.

    - billionplus

    Why is saying where you are for one hour a day too much to ask? Couldn't most people in the world who are gainfully employed meet the requirement at least 5 days a week? Considering the very special and rewarding position these players are in, I can't see why extending that to the two days of the weekend would really be too much to ask.

    And the point of everyone signing up to the new code is that it creates a position of strength through unity, sending a clear message that doping in sport is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Not a bad message really considering that what professional sportsman do is neither necessary or essential to our world, they are payed so much money for playing an ultimately meaningless game. Why can't they set a good example to children and make it clear that hard work and dedication can lead to great personal achievements without cheating your opponents?

    None of the people you mention are in any way "precious" either by the way, what if a war was to start tomorrow, would we be gathering round to see what advice professional sports stars had to offer? NO!! We would forget all about fun and games and entertainment - that's all that professional sport is.

  • Comment number 10.

    Truth is, majority of the sportpersons, including Federer have opposed this system but have reluctantly agreed. When Indians oppose, it is crime??

  • Comment number 11.

    1. Many poeple are thinking in terms that probably something is wrong hence Indian players are resisting. That's not the correct way of thinking. Cricket is a different game altogether. Some players we know became part of national team at the age of 18 and then were thrown out of team for a while, only to be inducted back at age of 32. Do we expect the player to inform WADA what he was doing for last 14 years everyday? I think reporting off-the-tournament details is just too much.
    2. Meanwhile those who say that other sports have adapted this, can they prove that they have "stopped" drug abuse? Certainly not. So why keep a rule that doesn't help at all.
    3. Has Cricket entertained drug abuse? Absolutely not. There are striking/high profile cases wherein cricketers using drugs were thrown out of the tournaments.
    So WADA has to re-think and amend this rule for Cricket atleast.

  • Comment number 12.

    Structured and sensible argument Gordan.

    Surcha: "Truth is, majority of the sportpersons, including Federer have opposed this system but have reluctantly agreed. When Indians oppose, it is crime??"

    Difference is that the Indians haven't "reluctantly agreed" and Federer has.

    And the person who said that Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are not as well known as the Indian players is having a laugh. These are two of the greatest sportsmen and personalities you will see. You should be grateful you're around to witness them as not every era has such geniuses who are clearly unique. The 11 Indian players do not fit this description I'm afraid; not even Tendulkar.

  • Comment number 13.

    To be honest I'm a little puzzled. If the 'it's a skill sport' argument is taken to be legitimate, the question raised isn't "will there still be doping?". It's "what does it matter whether there's doping or not?"

    Steroids - for instance - are used as part of rehab/recovery programs outside of professional sport. Given they don't lend cricketers the same competitive edge as cyclists, sprinters or indeed tennis players, what does it matter?

  • Comment number 14.

    As an Indian cricket fan i believe that unless the team and board sign up fully to this anti doping treaty they should be banned from all international tournaments .There should be no excuse and no compromise.Drugs in sport is to big an issue to be pontificated by prima donna sportsmen and their puppet board.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think the people (author of article included) who think others are challenging as to whether Tendulkar etc. are better known than Federer and Woods haven't entirely grasped the point. Mr Farquhar, have you any concept of how high these Indian cricketers are held in their country? Even someone with a passing interest in cricket, much less a journalist who should have thoroughly researched his topic, should know the obsessive nature of Indian cricket fans (please note this is in no way a derogatory comment). Have you never seen the images of burning effiges, the trouble at matches, the amount of security, as well as the sheer numbers of people who love the sport in their fanatical way? This is not the same with tennis fans and Federer or golf fans and Woods and to even insinuate so does display a bit of ignorance.

    Why should this world police Wada be foisted upon all sports? Cricket IS a far different sport to many of those that you cover in the Olympics. I think this article is very odd, it is wildly ignorant and I wonder what those in the cricket writing department think of it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Unless everyone signs up to the code, it is useless.
    Even if certain other players have spoken out against the code, the fact that a whole team can dictate terms to its governing body is outragous.
    the BCCI should sign up and if the players dont like it, I am sure that there are many other players waiting in the wings in India who are more than willing to take over.

  • Comment number 18.

    Gordon Farquhar's opinions and comments are as naive as those of the Indian sports minister. No doubt, the use of steriods and other substances cane be attractive to circketers and a way has to be found to minitor such use.

    However, to suggest that this is about a pampered elite, etc is inaccurate. Tne truth is that there are many other top sportsmen (Federer and Nadal, eg) who believe that the 365 day accountability system seeks to exert a disproportionate level of control over sportsmen's lives. The only difference is that neither Federer nor Nadal have the clout to pressurise their respective sports bodies to reject the Wada system. Farquhar is also factually incorrect to say that it is some sort of hubris to claim that the Indian cricketers' claim in respect of security is no different to , eg. Nadal or Federer - he ought to read the papers in India before making ignorant and ill-informed statements like that. Moreover, it is totally facetious to suggest that merely by complying with the Wada system, sportsmen set a shining example to young people - grow up, Gordon.
    While I don't believe that the Indian cricketers will ultimately be successful in challenging the Wada system, I am glad that someone has had the courage to do so. I don't often approve of the crass manner in which the BCCI uses its commercial clout, but in this case, they are spot on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Gordon, this is my first comment on a cricket article in BBC...As an Indian, i was compelled to respond to this article.....Your comments to me are sour grapes...With India replacing England being the power center of Cricket, i am sure you guys will be waiting for these kind of news to do India bashing....but the fact of the matter is that the majority of the sports personalities won't be happy with this new rule but just didn't have the backing of their sports organization hence had to sign...BCCI is the first major sports organization which has voiced their concern....Whilst i am definitely against drug usage in Sports, to me this rule is unreasonable...Just because these people earn money doesn't meant that they have to go through many difficulties...that is just sour grapes....from people who don't have the talent...They have the talent and they earn all their money because of their talent...

    The tables have turned upside down in the cricket world.......just accpet the reality....I would have appreciated your article if you had comments from Indian cricketers perspective.....

  • Comment number 20.

    I think it is ridiculous to require all athletes to give their daily schedule, even if for a moment, to anybody. Cant pharmacology come up with a less pervasive, invasive, intrusive test for performance enhancing drugs?

    It is a shame that a gentleman's game is being reduced to this, with its presumption of guilty, whether proven or not.

    Now that there is money to be made in cricket, every one seems to want his finger in the pie, including the drug testers and their suppliers.

    Why not have this stupid rule only for non-test cricket, and leave test players alone?

    Cricket is not a Chinese sport where not just performance enhancing drugs but even your face can be determined by the authorities if you can play or sing.

  • Comment number 21.

    Professional sportsmen must these days unfortunately pay the price for the misdemeanours of what I'm sure are a few spoiling the party for the many. Anyone suggesting that performance enhancing drugs could never be a problem in cricket is fooling themselves-there are a vast array of performance enhancing drugs available with any number of effects.

    Part of the reason that there aren't as many drugs scandals in cricket is that there isn't solid and rigorous testing. Take baseball for example. In the early 00's they did their first round of testing ever, and the list was meant to be confidential and destroyed, just a sighter to see how big the problem is. It never was and is slowly being leaked out-turns out that many of the best batters in MLB were taking drugs at the time. Are you honestly suggesting it wouldn't be an advantage for a batsman to beef up a bit and be able to hit the ball harder and further? Obviously skill is required, but between two players of equal skill, I can see it would give you a huge advantage to have the strength to smash every ball out of the stadium. And suggesting that increasing power would lose a bowler accuracy-that may well be the case if you lose the consistency of your action trying to bowl too fast, but if you can get more pace for the same relative effort using drugs, you're just going to get faster. Brett Lee isn't inherently worse at bowling than Graham Onions because he can bowl 100mph.

    Look at Pakistan and Shoaib. As long as drug testing in cricket is run by the national boards, there will always be an easy get out. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams that if Sachin tested positive for a banned substance the BCCI would even make that knowledge public, let alone ban him?

    Finally, just look at the lengths other sports have gone to to prove they're clean-cyclists now have to have a "blood passport" which keeps a record of their default blood chemistry so that any even minor changes can be picked up easily. I imagine none of them are too happy about the huge invasion of privacy this entails, but unfortunately this is the price that professional sportsmen have to pay in the 20th century. Anyone who doesn't like it should get a job in a shop instead.

    Regrettably all this bleating is doing is slowly convincing people that the Indian team all use drugs and that's why they don't want to be tested, regardless of whether they actually are or not. Refusing to sign this may make them think they'll be improving their quality of life over the course of their careers, but it could also tarnish their reputations to the extent that there are always question marks.

  • Comment number 22.

    StaniArmy, I am proud that I live and watch Federer, the greatest ever tennis player. No doubt. It is true that Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are not as well known as the Indian players, but this only applies in India. For majority of Indians, where cricket is a religion, Sachin is a god. He commands a mass following. I am only replying to your comments, not that I worship any Indian cricketer.

    If I was a sportsperson, I would be angry that I have to inform the authorities, in prior, my whereabouts for an hour every day for the next 6 months. Ridiculous. Why not the drug testing authorities have your personal number, call you 24 hours in advance and request a test.

    For your info, this was taken from Cricinfo.

    ======
    * Player associations share BCCI's concerns about WADA's whereabouts clause:

    * The level of information required to be provided to comply with the whereabouts requirements was our main issue and we found that impractical -- Paul Marsh, Australian Cricketers' Association

    * The issue is the whereabouts clause and England players are concerned about security and privacy -- Sean Morris, Professional Cricketers' Association

    * Practical and privacy concerns persist for our players and we want the ICC to address them -- Tony Irish, South Africa Cricketers' Association

    * The whereabouts clause administration is cumbersome and very difficult for those in team sports to manage -- Heath Mills, New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.

    * Our concerns are similar with regards to the whereabouts clause -- Graeme Labrooy, Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association.
    ==========

  • Comment number 23.

    Lets see if this is only related to BCCI and Indian players


    The level of information required to be provided to comply with the whereabouts requirements was our main issue and we found that impractical -- Paul Marsh, Australian Cricketers' Association

    The issue is the whereabouts clause and England players are concerned about security and privacy -- Sean Morris, Professional Cricketers' Association

    Practical and privacy concerns persist for our players and we want the ICC to address them -- Tony Irish, South Africa Cricketers' Association

    The whereabouts clause administration is cumbersome and very difficult for those in team sports to manage -- Heath Mills, New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.

    Our concerns are similar with regards to the whereabouts clause -- Graeme Labrooy, Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association.

    Seems like Gordon hasnt done his homework very well or he smartly chose to ignore valid points.

    As for Woods and Federer I dont seem 2 dozen commandos around them ... err

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm going to take this from a different viewpoint. I am all for BCCI standing up to the bully that is Wada. WADA is like the policemen who abuses his authority to show everyone how important he is and not to ignore him or else.

    http://www.serieatalk.com/italian-players-to-protest-this-weekend/780

    The argument that other sports have accepted the code just tells me they have caved in to WADA's bullying. The BCCI's responsibility is to its players and its sport not others.

    The requirement to give your whereabouts for an hour a day, 365 days a year is not a reasonable requirement. The amount of money they earn is irrelevant as this rule applies to every sportsmen whatever their income. It is an invasion of privacy that borders on big brother type surveilance, and if the public are that bothered about sport in drugs to the point they would infringe sports men and women human rights, they may want to consider whether they would prefer a different, more controlled form of entertainment like a computer game (no doping of players there).

    To all advocates of the whereabouts rule. How about you live under these rules for a year and see whether you feel it is reasonable.

  • Comment number 25.

    Drug taking in sport has to be stamped out,not being an expert on how long certain drugs stay in the body makes it difficult to say how a testing regime should be adopted.

    Giving their whereabouts 24/7 for anyone is extremely challenging,the cricket authorities if they are not going to accept an internationally agreed code have to come up with something that is equally acceptable.

    Sitting back and doing nothing is unacceptable and taints all the current players.

  • Comment number 26.

    Couple of points - cricket is now becoming a power sport - Yuvraj, KP, Gayle etc are power cricketers whose skill is allied to massive power to launch the ball 100 metres back - so the argument that drugs shouldn't be an issue in the sport is wrong. As for the Indian issue, well, sorry, but India is a country dominated by cricket and wealth generated by the game. So, yes, India needs to be held up to better standards - that's the reality. Lets not forget the match-fixing problems of 10 years ago - when it broke, it nearly destroyed the game in India as millions of people who loved the game became heart-broken by it's corruptness. Imagine the outcry and shame if a top Indian player was revealed to be a drugs cheat - what suspicion would it put on the other players and the game in general. At a time when cricket in India is facing competition from other sports such as football, F1 etc, it needs to be as honest as possible. But, tragically, it won't be long before a player is found guilty of drug-taking and if he's Indian and they don't have a drugs code the outcry will be massive. And with the rewards on offer through 20/20 it won't be long before some players decide to shortcut the hardwork.

    As for the argument that it's impossible for some players not to be able to or willing to supply their daily whereabouts - cobblers! Most of the time these guys are with their national team, so that's easy - when they're not it's not difficult to work out where they're going to be. As for the security of Sachin etc, I'd imagine his home address in Mumbai is easily findable, so if someone wanted to bring harm to him, they probably could without using WADA!
    So what's the solution - simple, the ICC need to show some leadership and insist that all associations sign up to the code and if they don't they'll be banned from competitions and tests and not entitled to hold sanctioned competitions, including the IPL - the BCCI will fall into line pretty quickly

  • Comment number 27.

    StaniArmy, I missed your last line. If you really think that Federer & Tiger are the greatest sports personalities of this generation, and Sachin doesn't fit in this category, then I am afraid you are in the wrong forum dude. You ain't got a clue on Cricket. Sachin & Lara, greatest of this generation.

  • Comment number 28.

    Heh I'm sure Beefy would have been against it as well LOL. I'm sure also that the introduction of drug screening will happen eventually - it will just take time. Other team sports such as football were pretty slow to tighten up the testing regime. Cricket is a less athletic sport so I expect the impact of drugs to take a little longer to sink into the psyche. With India not really having a serious interest in other sports (with a couple of exceptions) I would guess drugs are not really seen as a serious consideration. And to go straight to the stringency of the current WADA testing policy is a huge step. I actually think that the international make-up of the IPL will make a drug policy inevitable but the message will take time to put across.

  • Comment number 29.

    How on earth can you plan your next 6 months schedule, specially when you are not playing cricket, and provide your whereabouts? When FIFA itself hasn't agreed to WADA, why shouldn't BCCI oppose? Let's accept the fact that BCCI is the spine of ICC, without which there won't be revenue. And when they take a stance, it is bound for criticism from people who don't want to accept that change of power center.

  • Comment number 30.

    Firstly about WADA rules. Yes, BCCI should accept this system and players should be flexible enough to cooperate. Taking a minute out of your time to let someone know where you are is not that bad. And its not 24 hours really. You sleep 7-8 hours already, you don't have to report that you are sleeping I hope? Maybe compromise and say report in the morning, afternoon and evening about where you were, what you were doing and what you are about to do. An hour is not too bad. With today's technology, players could probably send a quick text message or email like they were contacting a friend. Does anyone know what the procedure is for reporting to the drugs committee? If it takes 20 minutes then its just ridiculous I think.

    As for the sports personalities, everyone knows Roger Federer and Tiger Woods. With today's media even the worst slums and villages know about basic news. But saying that Sachin Tendulkar is not a genius of this generation is just arrogant, narrow-minded and useless. He is a legend and one of the best players of all time. Watching him play is just great. And there were geniuses, there are geniuses and there will always be geniuses. We are not 'privileged' to watch these players. I never saw Don Bradman, Pele or Steve Yzerman play live but they were the best players of their time. We ofcourse have current geniuses and there will be in the future. Guaranteed. So to everyone, please be a little less arrogant in your views, accepts other people's opinions and...peace! lol

  • Comment number 31.

    What drugs are proven to enhance performance in cricket? And why shouldn't cricketers take drugs as part of rehab from injury?

  • Comment number 32.

    Surcha - Firstly, much as I love cricket, Sachin isn't a "world"-wide sports figure - sure he's loved in India and the cricket playing nations of the world, but show his picture in China, the US and the majority of the world, they won't have a clue who is his - Tiger, Federer etc are truly global. It's a bit like suggesting SRK is bigger than Brad Pitt - In the Indian diaspora, he may be, but not in the world.
    As for not knowing your next 6 months schedule - of course you do if you're a professional cricketer! You might not know exacly what hotel you'll be in, but you know which tournament or series you'll be playing in and your governing body will fill in the blanks. When you're not playing you'll either be at home or on holiday - bear in mind the WADA code allows changes to schedule as long as you let them know.

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't think that security can be used as a justification for not adopting the code.
    For much of the year it will be easy to find the players - by looking at the fixture list and seeing the ground at which they're playing. It's probably not that difficult to find out the hotel their team is using.
    If they're big celebrities, do the tabloids report all the evnts they're attending?
    And failing that, would it be that difficult to find out their home address?
    I'm sure if I wanted to know where I could get at one of those players to do them harm, getting access to the drug-testers whereabouts list wouldn't be the first thing I'd try.

  • Comment number 34.

    Please people stop saying that athletes are required to notify their whereabouts for 1 hour/day for 365 days a year. This is misleading.

    The code (http://www.wada-ama.org/en/dynamic.ch2?pageCategory.id=371) states in summary:

    # athletes are required to notify whereabouts 90 days in advance
    # they need to give a testing location for a 60 minute period between 06:00 and 23:00
    # they, or their agents or representatives can change that slot/location by 'phone, SMS, email, or "other appropriate methods" up to 1 hour beforehand without penalty or record
    # "where an athlete does not know precisely what his/her whereabouts will be at all times during the forthcoming quarter, he/she must provide his/her best information, based on where he/she expects to be at the relevant times, and then update that
    information as necessary"

  • Comment number 35.

    I take it from some of the above posts that cricket fans are either ignorant of the issues of drug missues in sport of all kinds, or are blinkered.

    Why should circket think it is different to ANY other sport - WADA should stand firm on this.

  • Comment number 36.

    Having recently returned from India, I know how defensive the nation as a whole are when their heroes are in the wrong. And I agree that the BCCI would probably cover up if one of the star players tested positive therefore the need for an independent body...

    Cricket, like baseball which had/has a huge steriods problem, is potentially at a drug takers heaven... build up bulk and recovery from injuries quicker... this will help batting, bowling and fielding, let alone stimulents which can help decrease nerves and increase aim!

    The whereabouts system, despite being extremely inconvenient (as pointed out by many sportsmen in different sports who have still signed up to the program) is still a must have to show the sport is clean. No other system has yet been deleivered therefore no other option is available...

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    markyrobs, I never said (don't recognise anyone else did either) that Sachin is globally famous than Federer or Woods. But what I said is that as much as those 2 are international icons, Sachin is in India. He may not be globally poplular that's just because Cricket is not a widespread sport as Football or Tennis.

    Why is all the fuss, specially this article villianising BCCI & Indian players, when nearly 6 circketing associations have endorsed BCCI views. (They however had to accept WADA because of their own government commitments.)

  • Comment number 40.

    To those against the WADA code, decide what your argument is. Are you against all drug testing? Let natural talent be combined with the best pharmacology can offer and lets see what happens? It's a valid point of view (not one I share, but valid none the less) If you are for drug testing, but just not WADA's form, then you are trying to have your cake and eat it, because no other form works. Whether you like their tactics or not, WADA is the greatest collection of experts on the subject of drug testing in the world and they have come to the conclusion that any system less rigorous isn't worth having.
    Whereabouts is far less onerous than is made out (its not like you have to sit down January 1st and decide where you'll be every day until December 31st). I am friends with several athletes who comply with the code and update their location for the next few days by text and online on a regular basis.
    I am also unaware of a single leak of information via the whereabouts system that has lead to all this 'concern' over security that the various boards seem to be citing.
    I'm all for cricket, led by India, saying 'to hell with WADA, we don't want to play in the Olympics and don't care about drug use. We won't ask, players shouldn't tell'. That's an honest and brave position, but trying to pretend there is some middle ground is a nonsense. The drugs are too good & too effective, for anything other than year round testing to be considered worth doing at all. So either ignore the potential problem or deal with it WADA's way, just stop bleating about imaginary security concerns and how unfair a system used by almost every other sport and hundreds of thousands of athletes around the world is.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sadly lot of people are missing the point here which author missed as well.

    The "whereabouts" clause is only a problem during off-season.

  • Comment number 42.

    The ICC accepted to go for WADA in 2006. By inference BCCI is part of that decision. If the BCCI or the cricketers under its aegis had some different and smarter ideas, plenty of time to move and discuss/refine the proposals from the Indian side was available. Now is not the time for BCCI to drag its feet to try and stall ICC proposal to have WADA surveillance as a policy. Its time to comply.
    Otherwise the needle of suspicion will justifiably point towards India and its cricketers. I am sure all right minded Indians want its cricketers to be clean.

  • Comment number 43.

    I don't particularaly care about a 'change in power centre' as some people on here are talking about, but as others have said, if we want to get rid of drugs in the world of sport then everyone has to sign up to the same rules. If England, Australia, etc are following the WADA rules then why shouldn't India? If the ICC are asking all teams to follow the rules then India shouldn't be allowed to play international cricket until they do. And considering some people are considering adding twenty20 to the Olympics list at some point soon there may well be an even bigger reason to join. Personally I'd love to see that in London or something.

    This is nothing to do with being against India or whatever as some people are saying. I hold the same views about all other sports where this is a problem, athletics, cycling, etc. You say that drug taking is not widespread in cricket so there is no need for testing, how do we know if we are not testing? While I am confident that it is rare, it might still be happening, as it happens in all sports where there is big money involved. Giving your wherabouts for 1 hour each day isn't too much to ask for international sportstars who are playing much of the year anyway. No I would not like it if I had to follow it, but then I don't play big money sports and I don't know what I'm doing next week anyway!

    To those who say can't they come up with better drugs tests, well they are trying! But drugs only stay in your system for a certain amount of time, so unless they have the ability to test you any day of the year then there will be times of the year when a player could take drugs and not be detected.

    As someone said, on the few occasions when a cricketter has been caught he has been punished severely, but as there is no systematic testing system in place we have no way of knowing if there are more out there.

    And arguments over who is the best sportsman of the generataion are pointless, it depends on which sports you enjoy. I don't follow golf or tennis so have no real views on Federer or Tiger, I agree Tendulker is a great cricketer, but is he comparable to Woods or Federer? No, because they play different sports, give him a tennis racket or a golf club and he'd probably look like a fool playing to either of them, as would Federer or Woods if given a cricket bat. Trying to compare sportsmen from different sports is pointless, so let's just stop that now.

  • Comment number 44.

    It is evident to most that regardless of our personal likes or dislikes on the matter:

    1. India is a position of utter strength in the global cricket fraternity (fractious as that fraternity may be)

    2. As the country that brings in most eyeballs to the telly (the most significant revenue earner in cricket) India is in a clear position to make herself heard louder and clearer than most other countries

    3. India (and indeed most of the subcontinent) has little else to tune into aside from cricket when it comes to getting a sporting fix (whereby you follow your own national team with patriotic fervour. And no, the IPL does not - yet - address that particular craving of the human mind). England has football and rugby, Australia has AFL, NRL and Rugby Union, SA has Rugby Union, as does NZ. The West Indies, of late, unfortunately for us all, is looking as if it may not have a competitive enough cricket team left to follow and cheer on (I desperately hope that this gets reversed before long)

    4. Cricket is therefore more than just a sport in India but seems to have become a key aspect of portraying Indian national identity and is increasingly looked on as a vehicle for the country's new-found confidence and money power

    5. Given India's influence on the global cricketing stage, and given the increasing strength of its voice, it is indeed quite natural that the BCCI comes out in public and flexes its muscles (with its typically bizarre, lopsided logic)

    6. Over time, all this would probably get resolved with the BCCI (read the ICC) deriving some sort of a parallel set of guidelines that broadly mirror those of WADA, but with slight (yet significant!) concessions to suit the game (and its Indian masters), which will be pushed through the ICC

    7. Such a ruling will be accepted by the ICC (without any opposition) since these concessions will address the whereabouts clause which seems to be the most contentious item on the current WADA code - opposed by sportsmen across multiple disciplines

    8. When all is resolved, this point of pushing through the new anti-doping agenda will be one more item that the anti-BCCI brigade holds against the BCCI and Indian cricket, and one more point that the Indian cricket viewing public will hold as a blow against the Eng-Aus ex-cricket establishment/whatchamacallit

    In the meantime the glorious game continues...

  • Comment number 45.

    I haven't gone through the comments sent above. I just want to comment here that India, as has been the case with them in the last few years, continues to act as a most ungainly and tasteless bully. Being the powerhouse that they are, on account of making all the money from a billion cricket crazy Indian population, and on account of a toothless ICC that can only weild its power and rules on unfortunate members like Pakistan, they feel that they can get away with anything. This particular event may yet prove to be their Waterloo. They need to realize that their cricket super heroes ought to set an example for a huge population of youth in India and have to work under the same rules like all other complying nations and sports personalities.

  • Comment number 46.

    The level of ignorance on this board is stunning. Woods and Federer put their sport first, both of which have done very nicely without 'Olympic exposure', but the BCCI always put themselves and their players first. I don't think there would be too many tears shed if India were banned from test cricket until they complied. Who would miss their legendary sportsmanship and hospitality on tours of India? Perhaps, they're just stalling to give the steroids time to flush out the players systems just like the PCIB did by withdrawing Asif and Akthar after they were found to be drug cheats. That case illustrates why an independent testing agency is necessary as the PCIB quashed the ban on appeal for no good reason and both remain on the Olympic list of banned ahletes.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have to guarantee my whereabout for eight hours a day, five days a week; it's called a job. If I don't like the demands of my job, I can quit, and so can any sportsman. No-one is being forced to play cricket for a living.

    More seriously, though, I'm rather concerned at some of the excuses being put forward by the BCCI (and yes, it is more of a problem for India than other countries, as in India's case it is the sport's governing body and not just individual players and coaches who are objecting).

    The question about cricket being a game of skill is easily dealt with: so are most sports. You don't see many professional cricketers shaped like WG Grace any more, waddling out to the crease with a vast girth overhanging his trousers. Everyone who plays for India, or for any other test playing nation, is a very fit and powerful athlete, someone who could certainly gain from the stamina and maintaining of peak condition that can be gained from performance-enhancing drugs. To say that a bowler who can put a ball on a sixpence at 85mph wouldn't have anything to gain from putting it there at 95mph is ludicrous; and the reason Glenn McGrath never used drugs is not because they wouldn't have helped, but because he's an honest and fair player. Such attitudes, sadly, are not universal in any sport.

    Another widely held objection is that cricket is not an Olympic sport. WADA is not part of the Olympic movement. Rather, it is an independent, supranational quasi-governmental organisation devoted to removing drugs from all sports, both for the good of sport as it exists, and for the future impact on young people taking up sport. The IOC were one of the first, and most vocal, to adhere to WADA rules, for this simple reason: they work. If the ICC want to rid cricket of drugs, the most sensible route for doing so would be to follow an established and widely followed set of rules.

    Finally, complaints that objections are based on old imperial attitudes, and resentment for the shifting of the power base, are bizarre. 9 out of 10 test playing nations are willing, if reluctantly so, to follow WADA's rules. India are being criticised because they are the only ones objecting, the only ones who are uninterested in ensuring that professional cricket is clean. If the BCCI can be a special case just because they bring in most of the game's money, then we might as well all pack up and go home, because international competition would become meaningless.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    All this may be true, and I agree that the WADA code should apply to all Indian cricketers too. But think of this - where will cricket be without India? BCCI has been given too much power and leeway before - and it is ruled by politicians.
    But this time I think BCCI has over-reached themselves. Thank God - hope the idiots who play for us (India) will show some sense. And I also hope some of the so-called supporters will let go of this victimisation theme and push the 'superstars' to do the right thing. Probably MS Gill (India's Sports minister) will. He's a tough guy - not just a politician...

  • Comment number 50.

    Simple.... sign up as everybody else does or don't compete with other ICC countries!

  • Comment number 51.

    One small, further point about the security issue. If it is a security issue to know where a cricketer is going to be, I might point out that I know exactly where Ricky Ponting will be on Friday morning...

  • Comment number 52.

    I've always had problems with the philosophy of drug testing: (i) why should sportsmen (no matter how well-paid) be denied access to medicines that the rest of us can take perfectly legally on the grounds that some of the components, in sufficiently large quantities, "might" be performance-enhancing? (ii) why is taking unnatural substances to enhance performance taboo, while taking natural substances in unnatural quantities is considered OK? I'm thinking, in particular, of the sumo wrestlers who stuff themselves silly while practising their sport, and have to 'come down' gently after retirement to avoid health problems, but also weight-lifters who would typically consume quantities of steak and raw eggs that few normal people could manage. Until and unless WADA can come up with a code that is demonstrably fair (and these two points, as well as the 'whereabouts' rules, suggest that what is currently on the table is not), I suggest that sports like cricket, football and rugby, who really don't need the Olympics to enhance or even maintain their popularity, should walk away from it.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have been reading posts on this subject across papers. Generally there is a little bitterness which comes in when BCCI is involved. Most of the time it has been pushing its way as it has the financial clout and anything coming from them is looked at with coloured eyes. The bitterness is therefore expressed when the issue of Indian cricketers comes up and generally they are portrayed as pampered, overpaid and spoilt brats. While performance and behaviour should be analysed dispassionately it is also important that all views are not rejected without due consideration. True,these rules apply to Tiger Woods, Federer who are sporting superstars. But these sportsmen reside in countries where the population, crowd demography and security environment is very different. India can pose a lot of security threats especially in public events where security management is a huge task. Afterall this is a billion plus country.
    To be fair - the objection ( whether raised by BCCI or anyone else ) should be heard out. Maybe cricket cannot wait and tournaments cannot be rescheduled. The best course would be for all the cricketers of various countries to sign up, thereafter lodge a detailed representation on the case, and ask for a review if the regulation. Needless to say the review once done, should be not with just cricket in mind but with all sports and sportsmen in mind.

  • Comment number 55.

    Farquhar, I dont think this is just "India" problem as cricket academics/boards in other countries have raised their concerns to reveal the whereabouts of their own cricketers.

    Staniarmy: If you think Tendulkar is not as famous as Roger Federer or Woods, then I'm afraid, you are a cricket illiterate.

  • Comment number 56.

    Some of the pro-India comments on this blog are amazingly biased and rose-tinted. Suchra especially.
    There does not appear to be any valid reason for the India team to refuse the proposals, unless they do not understand them, as it would appear many people on here do not.
    Yes, all the other nations have voiced concerns with privacy, but they still signed up as they can see that the measures will help to reduce drug usage in Cricket, which will inevitably go on, given the money now involved.
    And Suchra, Indian may welll be the seat of power in Cricket, but they're not particualrly great at it at the moment. 4th out of 9 in teh test nations behind Sri Lanka! Well done. You may be better than England but atleast we have some success in other sports, like our great Andy Murray. Oh no, wait a sec....

  • Comment number 57.

    You work 365 days a year. Between 0600-2300. If you miss three appointments thats it.

    I take the example Nadal gave. He was just out with his friends. These people have lives outside of sport. Families and friends. A job that that impinges on people's personal life to the point where everything they do has fit around making time for a random drugs test.

    Also Fifa hasn't signed up regardless of what Fahey may claim. They have agreed to limit the number of players who will be required to detail their whereabouts every day during the offseason.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/2009-04/10/content_7667329.htm

    Find a different way. I refuse to accept a rule that treats sportsmen and women as criminals is the only way to eliminate drugs in sport.

    For that matter given a choice between drugs in sport or crimininalising competitors I would rather live with the drugs.

    And lastly if this is the best anti-drugs initiative that WADA can come up with, then replace WADA with a better more humane body.

    If you think this rule is universally accepted elsewhere think again.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/olympicsNews/idUSL932108120090409

  • Comment number 58.

    To add to/clarify the points above:

    1. The whereabouts rule is for 1 hour each day for 90 days in advance, and can be changed at any time before the 1-hour period in question is due to begin.

    2. All athletic sports have at least some scope for drug-taking to enhance performance, regardless of the degree of skill.

    3. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of drug-taking is when the sport's audience views outstanding performances with suspicion of drug-taking, even if none were taken (this IMO has happened in cycling, although much good work is now being done to rebuild the sport's image). Allowing this situation to remain could destroy a sport, although I believe cricket is a long way from this at present.

    4. Banning performance enhancing drugs not only protects a sport's integrity, but protects its athletes from the harmful side-effects sustained drug-taking can lead to. This may seem patronising to some, but athletes can be blinded to such risks by a desire for money/success, and a governing body who didn't act on this should be seen as being negligent towards its players' welfare.

    5. A global sport being run/dominated by 1 country (be it UK, India or anywhere else) is unlikely to accurately represent the views/interests of all its participants. Those in power at the ICC should be mindful of this.

  • Comment number 59.

    Khadrim, they are not being treated like criminals, they are simply being regulated to ensure that everyone plays fair. Is that not in the best interests of all the players, and all the children who want to grow up and play cricket without having to be forced to take steriods to succeed because evereyone else is doing so?
    With respect to the prosal, stop quoting other peoples interpretaion sof it and read the thing for yourself so you understand what you are taling about.

  • Comment number 60.

    I really don't understand why the journalist has chosen to single out the Indian cricket team and use such emotive language as "cricket administrators have just caved in to the demands of their pampered national elite".

    The Indian cricket team is not the first and certainly not the last team / sport to have issue with the WADA rules - even the most global of sports (football and FIFA) had issues with it before signing up.

    That said, I think two key notable events, during the past 12 months, will have had a key bearing on the BCCI and Indian teams thinking. 1) The events in Mumbai last November and 2) the specific targeting of the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. How can anyone ensure that details of players whereabouts will not be leaked/lost/stolen or sold? Even the ministry of intelligence have had their lapses in the past.

    Sure, it's easier to give your location during the season, but that changes significantly during the off-season, particularly if it involves disclosing time spent at softer security targets.

    Can you imagine WADA being able to steam roll these rules in to place after the Munich Olympics massacre? Especially over sporting codes which are not subject to their scrutiny?

  • Comment number 61.

    indian cricketer faces more security threat than wada tealises. wada behaves like terrorists failed miserably with FLO JO and CHINA to say the least. sadly nailed warne for diuretics in 2003 world cup i had protested then also. i am 56 a doctor neurophysician i play many sports and respect sporting spirit. i do not mind my opponent to take diuretic in cricket it will help me as he will tire out early. amphetamines cocaine anabolic steroids are true drugs in cricket used by cheaters. sadly. shane warne was pilloried for nothing by wada.

  • Comment number 62.

    I see that there seems to be perception (OllAnon) that batsmen would not benefit from performance enhancing drugs. I think you just need to look at baseball with Sammy Sousa, Mark MacGuire, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, etc, etc, etc. Obviously some performance enhancing drugs are improving their stats.

  • Comment number 63.

    It is not to write about some thing with out knowing the details in whole. It author seems to have less than half information about the situation and started taking like an expert. It seem like promoting his own agenda then the truth. These cricketers have been involved in many drug tests (latest is during IPL) so it not new for them and they are against them. Seen what happen to Srilankan cricketers in Pakistan, it is very important to take the security of Indian cricketers very seriously. When it comes to the point of comparing the tigerwoods and Fedex, i don't think these guys has ever got any letters or calls from terrorists(fyi: Indian players did got many threats). So it is not fair to compare them. For your information some of the Indian players has z-level security and it is very bad to revel the where abouts of them. It is not about defying someone, rather it is about survival. Hope you got the point.

  • Comment number 64.

    >>> WADA is not part of the Olympic movement.

    Well actually it is part of Olympic movement and was created by IOC before Sydney Olympics 2000.

  • Comment number 65.

    I've read most of the comments on this and there has been a lot of good points made on both sides.
    But, if anyone thinks that any cricket player in the whole world is more famous that Woods or Federer, then you are absolutely out of your mind, or else you don't watch any news or other sport.
    I know that Indian cricketers are worshiped in India, and that's fair enough, but if you think that means they should be exempt from drug tests then, again, you are out of your mind.
    I would think the drug testing procedure is very inconvienent for all sport professionals, but if they don't like it then they can quit.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well I guess cricket must come into line with other sports. How can it when the Indians don't want the wada code. So come on India what have your player got to hide??

  • Comment number 67.

    To Anyone who thinks that PEDs offer any sustained enhancement in cricket:

    1. Cricket is not Baseball, cricket is not baseball, cricket is not baseball. In baseball a player does not need hours of concentration (even in 20-20 a player needs a long period of concentration). A bowler is useless if he can ball 95 mph and not keep accuracy (Brett Lee and Shoaib on many occasions). Glen McGrath is great because of accuracy not power. A relief pitcher or closer needs power, power and power and helps a lot. A baseball does not hit the ground, hence does not need as much accuracy (won't go into geometry lessons, but obvious if you think about it).

    2. A spin bowler for example Warne or Murali, what would they do with power?????

    3. On a moral note: why should any player be denied a drug which promotes healing after injury, when taken under medical supervision. Plus, high altitude training; weights strength training, huge amount of protein intake, and many other daily used training techniques are harmful to the body in the long run. Should they all be banned.

    4. Unfair advantage? It is also unfair to expect a poor country to do well in track cycling without the amount of money that GB cycling puts in. Isn't that against the spirit of the game.

    5. I want to see ENTERTAINMENT in professional sports, it is not driving a plane, or practicing medicine that I really care what that professional is taking. If they can entertain me, great. If they can't I will spend my money on something else that will. It is entertainment and I really don't care if the model looks good because of surgical enhancement or is au natural, as long as she photographs well.

    6. It is a bit draconian isn't it?

    Cheers

  • Comment number 68.

    Surcha

    By comparing Tendulkar and Lara (you can add Ponting to that list), you have just proved my point. Federer and Woods are above their peers and have no comparison, Tendulkar does. This was my point but as you have just proved, "Stani Army, I missed your last line", you don't really read what people write before you feel the need to argue.

    I haven't got a clue on cricket? I'm not sure you know who you are talking to. Have a nice day ;o) [falls off chair laughing]

    Premclement,

    Below is my statement; can you direct me to where I said that Tendulkar is NOT AS famous as Federer and Woods? Did I even mention the word famous? Well done! You must like embarrassing yourself.

    "And the person who said that Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are not as well known as the Indian players is having a laugh. These are two of the greatest sportsmen and personalities you will see. You should be grateful you're around to witness them as not every era has such geniuses who are clearly unique. The 11 Indian players do not fit this description I'm afraid; not even Tendulkar."

    The people who support the BCCI stand have NOT read what WADA requires. They make it seem much worse than it is. They should READ the code and have a look at what the Indian athletes are saying. But as the two pro-Indians have proved above, not reading what is written is their problem.

  • Comment number 69.

    and its support of its leading players who apparently don't like the idea of being held fully accountable for what's inside them all of the time.

    ---------

    Stopped reading at this point and will not return. This is yet another pathetic opinion rom someone who knows nothign of the subject.

    The objections are to having to plan 3 months in advance where you will be EVERY DAY, living like a robot effectively. NO drug of any kind is detectable only in a 24 hour period, nearly all the major ones stay around for at least a week. Those that do not are of such short term effect that random testing at events will find them. So why not be sensible and at least allow these players two or three days a week out of this system.

    I (as a clean sportsman myself) fully support the BCCI and am sorely dissapointed in all the other bodies around the world who are capitulating on this issue.

  • Comment number 70.

    And as fro the "considering teh sums of money..." This is NOT a rule only for top class players, this will potentially cover EVERY professional in the country, including those getting by on much more meagre amounts.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ollanon, you correctly pointed out that when playing cricket you need a lot of concentration. Obviously you fail to realise that preformance enhancing drugs IMPROVE CONCENTRATION! Fitter bodies = fitter minds. The drugs improving strenght and speed and FITNESS and this improves a sportsmans or womens concentration.

    Personally I prefer watching humans with NATURAL ability and talent playing cricket and other sports.

  • Comment number 72.

    I really don't see what relevance how well known someone is has to this whole discussion.

    Cricket is played seriously in about 8 or 9 countries around the world. If the ICC wants to expand the game (which it does) it needs not to have a cloud hanging over the biggest names in it. Which is all this refusal to accept the code achieves.

    I'm afraid that the reasons behind the BCCI supporting the players are extremely simple and are mirrored all over the place, particularly in FIFA (which a couple of people mentioned) and in American sport. The franchises/professional organisations/clubs that make up all these organisations have a phenomenal amount to lose by their players testing positive. In football, you might have paid around £100m for a player-anyone saying you wouldn't have serious issues if they tested positive and got banned for several years is talking rubbish. (I in no way suggest that Ronaldo is on drugs, incidentally. Merely illustrating the amount of money being thrown around).

    The only reason the BCCI is backing the players is because they literally have no choice. The players earn so much money and create such hysteria around them that what they say goes-the BCCI is probably trying everything it can to persuade them to sign up to the code which the BCCI, along with everyone on the ICC, voted to adopt. If they were to publically declare they were at loggerheads with the players there would instantly be a riot and they would be forced to back down anyway.

  • Comment number 73.

    Hi Gordon,
    This is a non objective blog with erroneous assumptions. Indian cricketers do not have issues with being accountable of what’s inside them all the time, rather. it’s being hounded like criminals ( as Nadal puts it) every hour for 365 days.
    I feel the testing during off season is overkill. What matters is the athlete’s performance during the regular season.
    Tiger Woods or Roger Federer , Golf and Tennis stars were not targeted by terrorist on their way to an US PGA event or Wimbledon. It was a cricket team (Srilanka), which was targeted. So to India, protecting Tendulkar, Dravid is of national importance as much as protecting the where about of Obama or Gordon Brown.
    In addition, I sense a certain level of enviousness in the amount of money an Indian cricket makes. Not every stance an Indian cricketer takes is related to money or the clout gained from it.
    Is it right for them to not follow all the WADA rules? As much as the testing during off season!

  • Comment number 74.

    Why does one have to know the continuous whereabouts of professional sportsmen ? In this day and age shouldnt there be the technology out there to drug screen athletes without digging into their personal lives ?
    For far more important professions like ship captains and airline pilots this has not been adopted so why cant the BCCI disagree with this policy ? From what I understand the BCCI as well as the general criketing public in India are not against drug screening but are for the privacy of super-star athletes.

  • Comment number 75.

    Just because a lot of sport persons have signed it despite initial hesitations does not mean Indian Crickets have to do it to. We need to check if does not compromise on the security and privacy of our crickets. If it does then the Board needs to take a trance on it and not sign it. Who does not want to play with us need not play. If I am right we can take the lead and then all people who oppose it will pull their weight behind us and WADA will have to bend.

  • Comment number 76.

    Every single national cricket association voiced objection to these ridiculous rules. Not just India.

    Being available for testing 7 days a week is unreasonable and smacks of george orwell's 1984 "big brother" society.

    By the way, Andrew Flintoff has just played 3 ashes tests only because he had injections in his knee. He couldn't have played without those injections. If that isn't "performance enhancing" I don't know what is.

    WADA's list of "legal" and "illegal" drugs is a huge joke!

  • Comment number 77.

    Firstly lets acknowledge that BCCI only has a problem with the 'whereabouts' point and IMO rightly so. It's not the first board/sportsman to do so and will not be the last (unless WADA scrap it altogether!). Besides why the uproar; the BCCI has offered a fairly reasonable solution by assuring that any player wherever he may be will be produced within 24 hours to a location required for testing and failing to do so will be held responsible to accept the punishment as seen fit. There problem solved!

  • Comment number 78.

    Major sports (Baseball and American Football) with a very large fan base in the USA also are not under WADA system. In my opinion it is a clear violation of privacy issue. BCCI did propose that WADA can contact them and they will have the player available within 24 hours for a drug test. It appears to be a very reasonable compromise.
    Unless one of us has our life thretend by some fanatic, we are in no position to understand reluctance shown by Indian Cricketers. I do not believe it has anything to do with BCCI trying to bully.
    I have also read on Cricinfo that majority of crickters, their player associations and their boards hate this clause but as their respective governments require them to follow WADA, they had no choice.
    Just because they "reluctantly agreed" does not mean BCCI position has no merit.

  • Comment number 79.

    Staniarmy,
    You have to realize that Roger or Tiger do not travel as much as the Cricketers. The cricketers hardly spend more than 2 months with their family.Thus, they do not want to be disturbed by WADA during those precious time with their family. This has been echoed by cricketers from SA, Australia and NZ. I am a sportsperson too and I am completely against use of drugs in sports.

  • Comment number 80.

    I can understand the players reluctance. This article doesn't question the fairness of the WADA code.

    1. The WADA whereabouts code says "Whereabouts are information provided by a limited number of top elite athletes about their location to the International Sport Federation (IF) or National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO)..". Why only a limited number of top athletes? If you're a top wage earner at your job, would you accept professional rules that isn't applicable to others in your profession? You're a top dog because you are good at it.
    2. Who decides who should be tested and who shouldn't?
    3. Your whereabouts should be known 3 months in advance for 365 days a year, so that on-the-spot check can be done, even if you're not playing. This is exercising too much control. I know I won't like it either.

    However, I agree that we need to create anti-doping rules. Either the WADA code need to be watered down or we need to create a cricket-only body. I don't see anything wrong with a cricket-only anti-doping rules.

    As for Gordon's adjectives like "hubristic", "naive", get over it. BCCI is powerful because the country loves that sport. If you can't digest it, that a hike.

  • Comment number 81.

    Half the posters seem unaware of the fact that the Whereabouts system allows one's locations to be updated easily on the web at short notice.

    Drug cheats aren't just Ben Johnson or Marion Jones who are in need of power, but also for endurance. Endurance not just in the actual races, but in preparation - which is why off-season testing is so essential. Cricketers can benefit from drugs. Besides, look at Bindra - I doubt drugs will ever help him shoot better, but he has no complaints. Admittedly, he doesn't travel much, but remember the Whereabouts website updating thing.

    All that said, there is no reason for the BCCI to submit to the WADA regulations, since it owns the global cricket market and can subsidize the other countries' boards if they lose the financial support of their own governments for not being IOC-compliant. It's like baseball and Yankee Rules football - their fan bases don't need the Olympics. The BCCI will win this - questions of right and wrong are irrelevant. All that matters is money and clout, which are rather interlinked.

  • Comment number 82.

    As for cricket becoming a sporting pariah when (not if) the BCCI wins, why is that an issue? It already is. Nobody outside a small clique of Commonwealth countries cares about the historical anachronism that is cricket.

  • Comment number 83.

    Please tell me you are not paid for writing this crap. To even compare Sachin with Fedrer or Woods is foolish.

    Sachin and Dhoni are on the hit lists of major Terrorist Organization like LeT which was responsible for the Mumbai attacks. How many commandos escort Fedrer when he leaves his house? Sachin and in fact any of the Indian cricketers cannot go out side their homes in India without being mobbed by thousands of people. They are always escorted by their security.

    I perfectly support BCCI's stand on this issue.

  • Comment number 84.

    "To have to give your whereabouts for an hour a day, 365 days a year strikes me as being a reasonable request ..." No, it's totally unreasonable, the end does not justify the means, and WADA should back off.

  • Comment number 85.

    Of Course it is true that indian cricketers are on on hitlist of terrorist organisation like LeT, but not Federer or Tiger woods. Just because federer or Tiger woods have signed does not mean that other sports persons human rights issues can be ignored. Just on these accounts,Gordon Farquhar seems more naive to me than an ordinary Indian sports lover, as he says.I hoped to see intellectually better points from anybody who are allowed to write these blogs.

  • Comment number 86.

    And when has cricket EVER had a drugs problem, please?

    A few well-known or suspected users of recreational drugs which do diddly-squat to enhance performance is the most there's ever been.

    There are sports, primarily athletics and cycling, where speed, steroids and anything else they can try are rife. Cricket is in about the 12th division in the League of drugs cheats compared to those 2 Premier Div lads.

    WADA are a bunch of frustrated little men trying to impose themselves on us, just like Hitler. Don't ignore them in the hope they go away-take them to court & let's see how long their whereabouts rubbish lives under Human Rights legislation.

    Good for the Indians, I say, pity a few others aren't as spirited against WADA.

  • Comment number 87.

    "To even compare Sachin with Fedrer or Woods is foolish."
    "WADA are a bunch of frustrated little men trying to impose themselves on us, just like Hitler."

    Oh Lord... speaking as someone with Indian roots, the arrogance and ignorance underlying replies like this is embarassing. Please excuse such posters - they don't have any sense of global or historical perspective. They're just ... kids.

  • Comment number 88.

    It is true that in India and amongst Indians Sachin Tendulkar is more famous that Tiger Woods or Roger Federer. In the world of cricket - the BCCI stands supreme because of its financial clout. The other countries are scared of opposing BCCI for fear of losing a piece of the financial cake and therefore say yes.
    I too feel that the whereabouts clause in an intrusion into the privacy of individuals. How about the ICC and WADA consider surcha’s suggestion “Why not the drug testing authorities have your personal number, call you 24 hours in advance and request a test.”
    The call could be made at random and the result would be the same and could be applied to all. There would be no informing early or giving away details which could be used by terrorists who have threatened Tendulkar, Dhoni and the others.
    Siva from Singapore

  • Comment number 89.

    srakesh,

    The reason its only for the top in the sport is that someone who takes drugs but keeps coming last is idiotic and should be tested for sanity rather than drugs. If you take drugs, you do it for an advantage, that advantage makes you better. It's common sense to apply the rule to the top athletes, were it to be applied at all. It is either the ICC or BCCI who decide which 11 players - WADA do not.

    The_Right_Game

    It's got nothing to do with security. How will the whereabouts rule affect the security of the players? They will still get the same security where ever they are. Your mixing things up. If you're referring to the secrecy of their location being divulged then that argument holds no water. The BCCI knows where their players are all the time; the players agents know etc etc. If terrorist really wanted to know the location of a player, being a signatory with WADA will not make any difference, the terrorists will find out. WADA's privacy is probably more stringent then the boards or the agents themselves anyway. Even a paparazzi camera man/woman could tell you where a players gonna be; the security argument is silly.

    premclement,

    It has nothing to do with travel. Firstly, the Indian players will be with the team most of the time which makes it EASIER for their whereabouts details to be filled. The board can do it for them and the players would not have to worry. If they wake up at 8am every morning, they can just give the 7am to 8am time slot and their hotel or the home as the location. They know they will never miss a WADA official then. This doesnt mean they will be tested!!! It's random, someone from WADA may not even turn up. If the players plans change then he can just log in and adjust it - simple.

    I really think the Indian players and the BCCI have made too much of it. It's a simple system, and it is only for 11 players who don't even have to do it themselves. The fact that they are in a team, makes this easier.

    There is too much misinformation going around. Sign of the times I guess, but it's scary how people can form such strong opinions without taking in all the facts. I can imagine Olympic athletes laughing at the dust the BCCI has kicked up.

  • Comment number 90.

    There seems to be a general misconception that performance enhancing drugs are simply used to either improve power or speed recovery. There are a huge number which will calm nerves, help people concentrate for longer, increase stamina etc. To simply suggest that drugs wouldn't work in Cricket is naive.

    The notification period is 90 days in advance. During the season, this is not an issue for any professional sportsperson, and the on-season lasts for 6 months in most cricket playing countries. Most will be at their training ground for a substantial period of the say. Test/international players would have it the easiest as their seasons barely ever end these days, and the international fixture list is organised some years in advance.

    Such draconian measures have proven to be the only way to have any impact at all on the widespread use of performance enhancing and other banned substances in other sports.

    It seemed to me, as a one-time pro-rugby player that there was not widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in Rugby. This illusion was shattered earlier this year with revelations about players at my home town team, Bath, and their admitted use in some cases and alleged use in others, of the recreational drug cocaine.

    Burying your head in the sand and saying our sport doesn't have a problem has shown to be the worst possible stance, and cricket needs to realise this and should tackle this problem head-on now rather than reacting when high-profile drug users have been caught as has been the case in other non-olympic sports.

    While the measures are an apparent inconvenience, if it comes as part of the job then it should be no issue. Up to one hour before the scheduled time this can be changed. Most athletes, during the off-season will give their home address between midday and 1pm unless they know somewhere else they will be. Knowing they have to notify WADA should this change makes it easy for them to quickly send a text if this is not going to be the case.

    I have friends who are top-level athletes and they do this all the time. During the season, the training ground (basically), and during the off-season (not that there is much of one for athletes) their home from midday-1pm. If they won't be there, they simply send a text to say where they will be.

  • Comment number 91.

    Disclaimer: I am an Indian.

    I think this a silly blog posting. The Indian cricketers are doing this because they can. It's not about the security or the inconvenience. It is about power. These guys know they have the power and who is the ICC to tell them what to do. There is nothing right or wrong about it. If you have the power, you get your way. If you don't, you comply.

    The calculation is simple. Indians adore nay worship their cricketers. The Indians pay for keeping cricket going. So these demi gods want to claim their righful place in the pantheon. Now, if the writer of this blog can cough up the dough to replace the revenues generated from India, the Indians will willingly turn tail and accept WADA and anything else this writer can dream up.

    This is not a race thing nor is it a nationalist thing. This is a power thing. Might is right. Take away their might and you will be right.

  • Comment number 92.

    The notion that test cricketers are supposed to be role models (hence they need to comply with WADA or any other norms) is pure bunk. These guys are professionals and nothing more. Why should they be held to the impossible standard of being a "role model"? The only role they can model is that of a competent cricket player. They get (over)paid for doing that.

    This is the same kind of idiotic argument made by the sanctimonious when Michael Jordan was found to be gambling away a ton of money. They said what kind of message will that be to the kids. The kids already know "If you have the skills of a Mike, you don't have to listen to the self-righteous".

  • Comment number 93.

    PEDs in cricket

    1. Cricket is not rugby, cricket is not rugby and again cricket is not rugby. If you give something to calm the nerves (Beta blockers or BZDs for example), you also decrease reaction time. And which batsman wants to face Lee or Flintoff in full throttle with slowed reaction times. Certainly not me.

    2. Medically supervised use of drugs is not wrong, especially if it promotes healing and prevents injury and improves performance

    3. High altitude training, does many things similar to EPO. Both have risks and side effects. One is banned the other not. A case of righteous moral authority gone awry??? Both confer unfair advantage and are harmful (high altitude training followed by return to lower levels and dehydration during strenous events like tour de france is as risky as EPO)

    4. Athletes get pushed into taking riskier and riskier drugs to enhance performance, the ones we know about even less. Leads to harming them even more by WADA.

    5. Should a professional athlete should let his children starve after a career threatening injury when taking PEDs might help put dinner on the plate. I would consider it justified because it is a matter of professional athletes trying to earn their living, not playing an amateurish blues versus darker blues match in the 19th century, when sitting on the high horse of ethics was the norm. Remember that these athletes may not have much of a choice in using them, when the other option is obscurity, a begging bowl and retelling stories by a newspaper fire trying to warm hands on a cold winter night.

    It still is draconian and extreme. No wonder not one athlete likes this clause. Not the testing just this clause.

  • Comment number 94.

    Some cricket fans suggesting cricket is a game which all about technique more so than others is simply naive. Golf and tennis, especially golf, are as much or more technique dependent than cricket.

    Some (Indian) cricket fan opposing writers too live in their own bubble, for example Murdo85, emphatically spitting out their naive opinions. Federer too vehemently opposed the WADA clause so now since he has accepted it he is right so when he opposed he must be wrong making him a contradiction. I doubt its that black and white: Athletes have their own preferences, policy makers have their own views, and often its a compromise and give and take.

    People trying to bring down Tendulkar by saying Tiger and Federer are superior have their hidden agenda which I am happy to say won't hold. I myself don't see much sense in comparing team sports versus individual sports, but say still if I have to argue, then statistically Don Bradman has been proven the greatest sports person across all sports. Don himself and most highly successful cricketers themselves, (Yes! including Lara, Warne, Poynting, Akram, Donald, and Viv Richards and many more) have suggested Tendulkar coming very close to Don. That's some serious statement!

    Federer is arguably as good as Laver, but still Tiger has to prove himself being at least as good as Jack Nicklaus, let alone being better. By that logic Tendulkar is right there. People like StaniArmy are just pissed they got their ass kicked and otherwise too.

    If it comes to popularity contest, then forget it: You are not going to surpass Tendulkar. To fathom the proportions, you have to see Tendulkar in India playing for India---as Shane Warne the great put aptly.

  • Comment number 95.

    Unfortunately the author and some of the people who commented over the blog are under the impression that "cricketers do not want drug testing". That's not the case. The only clause which is causing the problem is the "off-the-tournament whereabout". It has nothing to do which sport and which player.

    Some players we know became part of national cricket team at the age of 18 and then were thrown out of team for a while, only to be inducted back at age of 32. Do we expect the player to inform WADA what he was doing for last 14 years everyday? I think reporting off-the-tournament details is just too much. There are so many players who would play 1 match at the age of 18 and one match at the age of 32. Does that mean that the player has to be under WADA watch for 14 years for no reason. What will happen if the player does not get selected at the age of 32? Will WADA keep asking him about the whereabouts till his death? National cricket team is not a constant group of players at any point of time. It changes every match and tournament.

  • Comment number 96.

    Fair enough, it's a small price to pay when compared to the huge rewards Indian cricketers receive. The active career of a sportsperson is considerably shorter than other careers. After retirement at 35 they can enjoy privacy for the rest of their lives.

    In India, the media always tries to put a racism/colonialism spin on every issue. It becomes quite xenophobic at times.

    Also just hope that these kinds of policies are never extended to the rest of us in other professions.

  • Comment number 97.

    I know this debate will rage on. I had posted my view y/day on what I felt. Now ... another thought occurred to me and surprisingly this has not been noticed by most of us.

    WADA wants every player to inform their officials of their whereabouts every day of the year. WHAT FOR ? HOW DOES THIS ENABLE THE OFFICIAL TO JUDGE WHAT THE PLAYER IS UPTO? WHAT PURPOSE DOES THIS SERVE.

    The main role of this body is to set rules and govern the sports segment to ensure it stays drug free and not govern the sports IN TOTAL.

    Please look at my point carefully. Here I am not pointing at the players concerns , the perceived invasion to privacy, their reasons for debating this, etc. I would like to know whether the WADA has a rationale for bringing this rule. They should explain. THEY ARE AS MUCH ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC AS THE PLAYERS ARE.

  • Comment number 98.

    The reason for the whereabouts clause is for potentially random drug testing that person. The reason it is in place for out-of-season is because this has tended to be, historically, when the majority of performance enhancing, illegal and illicit drug taking occurs.

    Which is why Christine Ohurogu was banned. If you are not where you said you would be when the drugs testers turn up, it goes down as a missed test. Miss three and this leads to an automatic ban (in theory).

  • Comment number 99.

    Some people think BCCI is at fault and some people don't. Fair to all, you are entitled to your own opinions.

    The same way, Indian cricketers are entitled to their own opinions and decisions. Vast majority of the sportspersons are against this "whereabout" clause but did not offer enough resistance because they know they can't win their case. With BCCI having the power, the so-called pampered elite know they can fight which is why they are flexing their muscles. Don't need to appreciate them for this but atleast not be dis-respectful.

  • Comment number 100.

    OllAnon:

    My son likes cricket. If he ever develops the intention and ability to play the game professionally, I have no wish to have to present him with a list of (potentially harmful) drugs he'd have to take if he wishes to compete. It's worth remembering these rules - and this is true of any sport - are not just for a few at the very top, but for all those, at every level of the game. If, say, Shoaib Akhtar is allowed, encouraged even, to take drugs in order to compete, then so is the kid just starting at your nearest county or provincial side.


    And to EVERYONE who keeps banging on about whether or not Sachin Tendulkar is more famous than Tiger Woods or Roger Federer:

    It doesn't matter.

    Get that? IT DOES NOT MATTER. The rules that Tiger Woods has to accept are the same that apply to the lowest ranked golfer in the world. Roger Federer must adhere to the testing regime just as Alex Bogdanovich must. And, once again, the rules for the top cricketers are equally applicable to the new kid at your local side.

    Sport must be kept as drug-free as possible, for the benefit of all concerned: for the young hopefuls who want to play the game, for competitors who need a level playing field to allow their talent to flourish (but who aren't willing to cheat nor to risk poisoning themselves), and for those of us who'd like to watch a contest between competitors who have earned the right to be there naturally.

 

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