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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Ganguly, Lara sympathy for Warne

February 22, 2003 18:05 IST

West Indies batsman Brian Lara spoke out in defence of Shane Warne on Saturday by declaring the Australian leg spinner is not a drugs cheat.

"He's a personal friend of mind. I'm sure, knowing Shane -- I'm putting my head on the block -- it has nothing to do with enhancing his performance," he said.

Warne, who had been due to play in the World Cup but flew home without playing a game after his failed test, was banned for 12 months earlier on Saturday by an Australian Cricket Board anti-doping committee for taking diuretics, which can be used to mask other illegal drugs.

West Indies officials had initially said Lara was not ready to make a statement but the player, one of the world's leading left-handers, returned to seek out reporters on the eve of the World Cup Group B match against Canada.

"I want to contact him personally, " he said, adding he would phone the leg spinner immediately.

"His performances over the years are due to his ability and his commitment to cricket," Lara added. "We have got to be very careful with what we are saying to the world.

"This is cricket. We know guys go out there and play their careers, their life for their country.

"I still have my fingers crossed it works out for him."

Warne, who had been on a diet to lose weight, said he had taken the drug inadvertently in a fluid reducing pill to improve his appearance. He plans to appeal against the ban, which stops him from playing all cricket right down to club level.

West Indies captain Carl Hooper echoed Lara's sentiments.

"Shane's an icon to world cricket," he said. "Everyone has his own opinion but I think I know him well enough to know that he did not do it."

India captain Saurav Ganguly also expressed sympathy for Warne.

"I feel sorry for him. He's a legend," Ganguly told a press conference on Saturday on the eve of his side's World Cup Group A game against Namibia.

"This is a big thing in his career and it has come to the end of his career," Ganguly added. "He's a champion performer."

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: Warne's Drug Ban

Shame Warne ! When are we going to see a fair world ? When Ben Johnson got caught with the drugs, his records were deleted ...

Posted by Raghavan

Sub: Drug Cheats

I had formed an opinion a few years ago that some of the players in Australian team are taking drugs and should be tested. My ...

Posted by Dah Lal


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