7/15/10

After deliberating for almost one year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has formulated its own Anti-Doping Policy that borrows heavily from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, but only flirts with the contentious 'whereabouts clause'.

This means that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not have to disclose to Wada agents where he will be going on his honeymoon because the ICC anti-doping code does not require him to disclose his whereabouts when he is on a holiday.

It signals a big victory for Indian players, who had serious reservations about disclosing their whereabouts throughout the year. The Dhonis and Tendulkars, of course, had the strong backing of the BCCI, which not only refused to be Wada-compliant, but has been instrumental in pushing through a new cricket-specific anti-doping code that has been unanimously accepted by all other member Boards, some of which had earlier succumbed to international pressure and signed the Wada code.

Under the new ICC code, the whereabouts clause will be applicable in only four cases:

1) If a player has been found guilty of doping, he/concerned Board has to give his daily whereabouts to the ICC.

2) When two or more teams are involved in a bilateral or a tri-series, it would be the duty of the concerned boards to provide all details about their teams (right from flight nos, hotel stay, practice and match schedules, tour itinerary and even transit stay etc) to the anti-doping arm of the ICC.

3) If a player is injured and remains unfit for more than three months (90 days), he/his Board will be obliged to update his whereabouts on a daily basis till such time he is declared fit.

4) If a player named in ICC's testing pool is dropped and not picked for three months at a stretch, the onus will be on the concerned Board to have him tested, if needed.

The final draft of the ICC anti-doping code, which was drawn up after detailed discussion with representatives of every national cricket Board at the Singapore summit earlier this month, was given the final touches by ICC lawyers John Long and Ian Higgins in consultation with BCCI president Shashank Manohar and secretary N Srinivasan in Nagpur on July 7.

It is now ready and awaits the signature of the CEOs of all the member boards. The new code will take effect from August 1. Before that, the ICC, of course, needs to name its testing pool which will comprise a maximum of 11 players (5 batsmen, 5 bowlers and one wicketkeeper) from each nation as per the ICC ODI rankings. The list will be revised from time to time by the ICC to bring more players under the testing scheme.

ICC, thus, will remain outside the purview of Wada, and stay away from all events organised by the IOC like the Olympic Games or those organised by its allied units like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

However, individual Boards would be free to send their teams to these events, if the governments of their respective countries insist on it.

For example, Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC), which is set to sign ICC's new anti-doping code, is committed to sending a second-string team to Guangzhou, where cricket's T20 version will make its debut in the Asian Games later this year.

The BCCI has already made it known that it would not send any team to the Asian Games and there will be no change in its stance in light of the new code.