Sydney: The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed on Friday that bowler Shane Warne faced its most serious doping offence charge and would face a minimum two-year ban if found guilty. The ACB had two choices when charging Warne under its anti-doping policy - either using a "prohibited substance" attracting a maximum three-month ban, or using a "prohibited method", which draws a minimum two-year ban for the first offence.
An ACB spokesman said Warne was facing the more serious of the charges. "It is the case that he has been charged with using a prohibited method," he said. Warne exited the World Cup in South Africa after he tested positive for a banned diuretic in a test taken before the Australian team flew to South Africa earlier this month. The spokesman said the ACB approached the International Cricket Council's events technical committee on Friday for clarification on whether Warne could be replaced in Australia's 15-man squad if he is unable to return to South Africa.
"We want to clarify the technical rules surrounding the issue," he said. "Our thinking is we're not making an application to replace him yet but we want to get the process resolved so if we do need to replace Shane we've got the process fixed." Warne has said he took a diuretic tablet given to him by his mother and denied using performance-enhancing drugs.