International cricketers will have to be available for out-of-competition drug testing under the ICC's new anti-doping code, which comes into effect from January 1. The new code, which complies with the latest World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, was recently given unanimous approval by all members of the ICC board.
"The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach to doping in cricket and this new code serves to reinforce that position," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said. "This code means it has just become even harder for drug cheats to get away with doping practices and it is part of our continued battle to ensure fair competition for all."
Under the new rules, players identified by the ICC as part of its "international registered testing pool" will be expected to inform the ICC of their whereabouts every three months. Players are also expected to turn up for tests on request, and their failure to inform the ICC of their whereabouts or to turn up for tests could lead to an anti-doping violation. Three missed tests or filing failures (not reporting to the ICC about their whereabouts) in an 18-month period will constitute an offence.
The ICC will also establish a doping hearing panel, from which three people will be selected to sit as an anti-doping tribunal from time to time in order to determine whether an anti-doping violation has been committed. The chairperson of the tribunal is required to be legally qualified while the others on the tribunal will have legal, medical or technical expertise with specific experience in anti-doping matters.
The ICC has followed the WADA code since 2006, and has been testing since 2002 - during that time, no player has tested positive. "We must never become complacent when it comes to protecting our sport against drug cheats," Lorgat said. "We have recognised the threat and we have done something about it. This is a big step forward for everyone who wants to maintain clean and fair competition in cricket."
However, there have been a few high-profile cases of doping violations outside ICC jurisdiction. Shane Warne was handed a one-year ban by the Australian board after he tested positive for a diuretic in pre-competition testing prior to the World Cup in 2003 in South Africa.
Warne was sent home from South Africa after the result was known, so were Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif after they tested positive in tests conducted prior to the Champions Trophy in India in 2006. Both players were initially banned, but were let off on appeal. Asif also tested positive for nandrolone in a test taken at this year's IPL. He has appealed against the result, and the hearing is ongoing.