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February 22, 1999
No drug testing for World Cup
Despite increasing calls, led by England's chairman of selectors David Graveney, for drug testing in cricket, indications are that the International Cricket Council will not move quickly enough to have drug testing in force for the forthcoming World Cup in England in May-June 1999.
Graveney, who doubles up as chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, warned in a radio interview to the BBC: ``There are other sports where you have world championships and where all the competitors are tested to ensure that fair play exists. I don't think cricket should be any different. The question of role models is a crucial one. Sponsors are not exactly queuing up to pump money into cricket - domestically or internationally - so it's crucial the image is as you would want it to be.''
Both the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Australian Cricket Board have their own drug testing programmes in force, but there has not been as yet any attempt to standardise the norms and bring in drug testing on a global scale.
The issue of drug testing produced some controversy in India recently, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India balked at allowing its players to undergo drug tests at Kuala Lumpur, during the last Commonwealth Games in 1997, when cricket was introduced as a medal sport. "It is not that our players are doing performance-enhancing drugs, but they have not been given a list of banned substances and it is possible they could have unknowingly ingested something that is taboo, since a lot of the substances are also found in prescription drugs, we don't want any controversies," a BCCI spokesman had said at the time.
However, the widespread perception is that there is a drug problem in the sport, and that it is about time the ICC brought in legislation to make drug testing mandatory.
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