ALL drugs tests during the World Cup in the West Indies proved negative, the ICC confirmed today. This follows the clean ICC Champions Trophy in India last October and November, which was the first major cricket event held under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.
The publicity surrounding the ejection of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif from the Champions Trophy for positive steroid results stemmed from inaugural pre-tournament domestic tests in Pakistan. This proved that cricket was not entirely clean, and Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, urged India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – the only major countries still not testing -- to initiate a WADA policy.
During the World Cup, 15 of the 51 matches, including both semi-finals and the final, plus two warm-up matches, were randomly selected for testing. Two players from each team involved in those matches were randomly selected for testing, giving a total of 68 samples that were submitted for analysis. All match venues had doping control facilities and there were no reported problems or issues.
Samples given from matches in Jamaica were flown to Canada for checking, while samples from all other countries went to London. All samples were checked at WADA-accredited laboratories. Speed said: “The fact that all drug tests at the ICC Cricket World Cup proved negative is a great result for the game. It sends out a very positive message, something everyone connected with the game can be very proud of.
“It also confirms cricket’s reputation for being low risk when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, but that does not mean the ICC, or any of our members, can afford to be complacent in this area. Our approach to their use has been consistent and long-standing as we have tested players at our events involving Full Members since the 2002 ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
“And with our signing of the WADA Code together with the work our Member Services department has done in producing DVDs and literature on the subject we are more committed than ever when it comes to ensuring cricket is not tarnished by performance-enhancing drugs.
Speed added: “It is encouraging that five of our full members – Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa – are testing their players outside of ICC events and the West Indies is set to join that list in the near future. We would encourage all our remaining full members not already doing so to follow suit for the good of the game.”
CHARLIE SAYS: Cricket must remain wary of steroid drugs -- for example, suspicious of rapid recovery from injury.