Like other sports now cricket will undergo dope test as per the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines at the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in June this year.
According to the Indian Express, during the first ODI between India and England in Pune last month an ICC doping team were giving a descriptive lecture about the effectiveness of the tests.
A BCCI source said the doping team informed them it was the high time that cricket should adopt more high-tech methods of preventing and eliminating drugs from the sport.
The source said, “Cricket has been WADA compliant since 2006 but our players still only undergo in-competition random tests, where their urine samples are collected. But there are a lot of performance enhancing drugs and steroids in circulation out there which aren’t visible in urine samples but will show up in your blood. Blood-testing is part of what WADA terms ‘smart testing’.”
He added the cricketers were wary of having their blood test. But they were explained the test is for good for cricket and they agreed.
Blood-testing is one of the new procedures which is introduced in cricket. Hereon cricketers will also have an “athlete biological passport” being maintained which is a norm for all other sportspersons in the world.
A biological passport will be a ‘longitudanal’ blood profile which will be used as a reference point. The blood samples of cricketers will be collected during the Champions Trophy and it will be preserved for 10 years.
Once every six months, fresh samples will be collected from each player to compare with the original sample to see if there are any unusual variations.
The source clarified, “The blood profile, therefore, will be studied every six months. This is a more sophisticated technique, which will help in conducting more targeted tests and provide clearer evidence of doping.”
Compared to other sports cricket is not totally affected by the menace called doping. But the growing of franchise-based T20 leagues and the emergence of freelance agents has created trouble which pushed cricket to a possible doping problem.
Some compare the T 20 cricket to baseball which is suffering from doping issues for decades. The source asserted, “In baseball, a game is won or lost with a home-run. The same goes for T20 cricket. It’s a game based on explosiveness in batting, bowling and fielding. The stakes are high and the money is massive and there are so many players now who don’t necessarily come under the scanner of their national boards.”
Cricket remains a clean sport compared to others. In India, Pradeep Sangwan is the one who has tested positive for doping. In the world, statistically, there are three or four cases of doping in cricket.
According to the source, “Urine testing has so far only given us one positive result. But does that mean we should be happy that cricket remains a clean sport or are we sitting on a ticking bomb? Blood-testing and smart testing could provide us the answer.”