Drug-tainted Piper~~s season goes for a toss

Published: Friday, May 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Warwickshire wicketkeeper Keith Piper has been ruled out of the remainder of the current English season after failing a drugs test.

Piper pleaded guilty on May 12 to a doping offence involving cannabis and on Thursday an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel banned him until September 30, five days after the current English season is due to end.

A statement issued by the governing body said the panel had ruled that Piper, already serving an interim ban, "be suspended from involvement in all cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB until September 30, 2005."

The panel added that if Piper, 35, wanted to return to county cricket he should also undergo drug counselling and, before September 30, undertake a drug test administered under the auspices of the ECB and "thereafter be target tested six times in the following 18 months."

Piper, who had been playing mainly one-day cricket of late, was ordered to pay 250 pounds towards the costs of the hearing.

Back in 1997 Piper failed an in-house drugs test for which he served a one-match ban.

His fellow Warwickshire players Paul Smith, now retired, and Graham Wagg have also served drugs-related bans.

Last season Wagg was given a 15-month ban by the ECB after testing positive for cocaine and, as a consequence, saw Warwickshire terminate his contract.

And on Sunday, Piper's former Warwickhire captain Dermot Reeve, the retired England international, admitted he was fighting a cocaine addiction.

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