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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

MacGill expresses sympathy for Warne

February 23, 2003 14:46 IST

Shane Warne's doping ban has made Australia leg spinner Stuart MacGill a likely selection for the upcoming West Indies tour but MacGill was not celebrating on Sunday.

The 12-month ban rules 33-year-old Warne out of the World Cup and four Australian Test series in 2003, starting with the tour of West Indies in April.

"I was very disappointed for Shane," MacGill said in Perth on Sunday.

"It was terrible that he found himself in the position he has found himself in. I think probably all of us would wish he didn't have to go through with this."

Voted one of the five best players of the 20th century by cricket almanac Wisden, Warne had tested positive for banned diuretics in the biggest doping scandal to hit cricket.

His long-time understudy MacGill replaced the nation's leading wicket-taker for the last two Tests of the 2002-03 Ashes series.

Warne had dislocated his shoulder in a one-day match against England in Melbourne on December 15 before returning to the side on January 23 for a one-day international against England.

Two days earlier, however, he had taken a fluid-reducing tablet given to him by his mother to help him slim down.

"ANTI-DOPING HYSTERIA"

MacGill has taken 94 wickets in 19 Tests. The 31-year-old is a candidate to replace Warne in the World Cup, although selectors are believed to have chosen young off spinner Nathan Hauritz.

Warne has already indicated he will appeal his ban, which means he may become available later this month if the suspension is overturned.

"We're down to that person but there are a lot of other things that go with it, with Warney's appeal hearing coming up and everything," Australian one-day captain Ricky Ponting told reporters on Sunday.

"There are a lot of issues to work through before that person will be named."

Warne told reporters on Saturday: "I feel that I am a victim of anti-doping hysteria. I also want to repeat I have never taken any performance-enhancing drugs and I never will.

"I feel that a 12-month suspension is a very harsh penalty for not checking what I took with anyone."

Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Tim May said on Sunday Warne's case showed the Australian Cricket Board's anti-doping policy should be changed.

"If a player does take a substance that he shouldn't be taking, but all parties agree that he took them not for performance-enhancing or trying to mask performance-enhancing drugs, I think he must be guilty of a lesser breach," May told Melbourne radio.

"He shouldn't have to endure the ongoing saga of being known as a drug cheat, his reputation should not be in tatters.

"He's made a stupid mistake, yes, he's breached it, but this is only a minor breach."

Team mates looked prepared to welcome him back when the suspension runs out next February. Warne will then be 34 and five months.

Warne said he had taken a fluid-reducing tablet given to him by his mother without knowing it contained a banned substance. Diuretics are prohibited because they can be used to mask other illegal drugs.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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