Anti-dope testing: Do cricketers get preferential treatment?

SRIDHAR D'IYER, Caranzalem | APRIL 14, 2024, 01:12 AM IST

There are tens of cases of substance abuse, especially performance-enhancing drugs, that are used by international and national sports persons and athletes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and India’s National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) randomly check sports persons for banned drugs and several, including well-known men and women, have been suspended and/or barred from the sports, and even their awards and rankings have been taken away.

How is it that in a high-intensity game of cricket in its various avatars, so far no cricketer has been caught on the wrong foot or even suspected of substance abuse? WADA reported that the testing process is skewed, while NADA has constantly scrutinised India’s Olympic athletes, but many male cricketers have not been tested.

Incidentally, last year, 'The Indian Express' through an RTI found that in 2021 and 2022, only 114 tests were carried out on cricketers compared to 5,961 tests for athletics (1,717) and in other sports. Rohit Sharma has undergone the most tests (6), 7 players were tested once, but Virat Kohli and 12 others who have central contracts have never been tested.

In contrast, all contracted women cricketers have been tested, with Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana being tested 3 times! Why is this discrimination in general and also between genders? This is not cricket and is unfair to the women players.

This is not to cast aspersions on cricketers, but it would be interesting if the leading cricketers could conduct motivational classes for other sports persons on how to keep the adrenaline high and pumping without resorting to any banned drugs, including simple ones like cough syrups and painkillers that may contain normal but apparently banned chemicals.

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