Reeling under the Indian Premier League scandal, where five uncapped cricketers were allegedly caught indulging in corrupt practices, including spot-fixing, Indian cricket's image suffered another blow when leg-spinner Rahul Sharma tested positive for recreational drugs after a rave party in Mumbai.
Cricketer Rahul Sharma. (HT photo)
Rahul, who is part of India's limited-overs squad in Sri Lanka, and his Pune Warriors teammate Wayne Parnell were among the 94 people detained by the Mumbai police after a raid at a rave party in a Mumbai suburb on May 20.
Rahul and Parnell are part of the 44 whose test results were awaited. Earlier, of the 46 samples that were tested in the first batch, 44 had tested positive.
Wait and watch
Though the Board of Control for Cricket in India said it would like to wait till facts were verified, looking at the Board's zero tolerance towards any breach of discipline, Rahul faces strict action if found guilty. The Punjab cricket fraternity appeared to be in a state of shock.
"It's hard for me to believe. Knowing Rahul, who doesn't even drink beer, it's surprising," said Vikram Rathore, Punjab's Ranji Trophy coach.
"It is premature to talk about anything right now. Let the papers come to us, we will decide and take appropriate action," said MP Pandove, secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association.
The embarrassment is all the more for Rahul as he had declared that he would stop playing cricket if his blood test returned positive for drugs.
"I know I am innocent, if the reports (of blood tests) are positive, I will leave cricket," Rahul had said after being caught while socialising at the party in Juhu.
He had refuted the allegation that he was present at the rave party, claiming that he had gone there to attend a birthday celebration. "Those who know me, including my teammates, know that I have never touched champagne after victories. It's a big thing," he had said.