Indian players to be dope tested ahead of World Cup

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 20:47 [IST]
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Wellington: India's cricketers will be dope-tested for the first time in their careers ahead of next month's World Cup in South Africa, the team's physio said on Tuesday. "The players have already been informed about it," physio Andrew Leipus said, adding he did not know when and where the tests would be conducted. Saurav Ganguly's Indians are preparing for the fifth One-day International against New Zealand, starting on Wednesday. They have already lost a two-Test series 2-0 and are trailing 4-0 in the ongoing series of seven One-day Internationals. The tests will be conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in South Africa. A list of banned substances was sent to the BCCI last August. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that dope-testing is mandatory for all the participating teams in the World Cup because of South African government regulations. It is the first time that dope tests will be conducted in the game's biggest event. Only four cricket nations -- Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England -- have a doping policy in place. Leipus said he had already advised Indian cricketers not to take any medicine without consulting him. "Dr Anant Joshi (the BCCI official doctor) is also co-ordinating. He is drawing up a list of drugs which might include banned substances," said Leipus. "The players have been asked to fill out a questionnaire for me and the ICC just to check out what they are taking. "It will be a tragedy if an innocent cricketer tests positive at the World Cup even if he has not used drugs to enhance performance. That's the reason we have to be very careful." Barring a few incidents, cricket has so far remained a drug-free sport. In 1997, England's Ed Giddins was banned after testing positive for cocaine. Four years later, five South African cricketers admitted smoking cannabis during the West Indies tour.

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