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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

ICC to increase drug-testing at World Cup

March 01, 2007 14:49 IST

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to target-test players for performance-enhancing drugs at the World Cup in the West Indies starting this month.

"These target tests will be in addition to ICC's commitment to randomly test four players --- two from each side --- in 17 of the tournament's 51 matches," the sport's governing body said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision to target-test is a direct fall-out from the drug controversy involving Pakistani fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif during last year's Champions Trophy in India.

Both Shoaib and Asif were ruled out of the World Cup on Thursday because of injuries.

The target-tests are to take place any time from March 2, the start of the tournament's support period before the warm-up matches. The World Cup runs from March 13 to April 28.

Shoaib and Asif were found to have taken the banned substance nandrolone following a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) test last year, but a PBC appeals panel cleared them of a doping offence and lifted their bans in December.

"Both Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif have played for Pakistan over the past few months despite testing positive for prohibited substances last year," ICC's chief executive officer Malcolm Speed said in the statement.

"That is a fact neither player has disputed and it is also a fact that has caused the game a high level of embarrassment as a result. 

"We want to make absolutely sure that all players who take part in the World Cup do so on the basis that they are free from banned substances."

Shoaib and Asif were receiving treatment for knee and elbow injuries in London but neither was fully fit to join the team in the Caribbean.

The ICC said it was unable to intercede in the lifting of the PCB ban on the two players as its own anti-doping code --- which is World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant --- only governs ICC events.

WADA is seeking to challenge the overturning of the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"From an ICC perspective, having the option to target-test as well as the already-scheduled tests in place means that if a player does have anything in his system then there is a very strong possibility he will be caught out," the statement said.

"If that happens he will face a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct and his team mates will also suffer because it is extremely unlikely that the tournament technical committee would allow a replacement if a player is banned as a result of such a charge."

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