Backing its players, Shashank Manohar at the end of an emergency Working Committee meeting here, said that the BCCI has no problem with players being tested as part of the WADA Code, but it is against the system of testing, which requires players to furnish information about their location three months in advance for out-of-competition tests.
The BCCI stated that though the code has been in discussion since 2006, the procedure for testing was never discussed in any ICC meetings until now.
The Board president cited three major reasons for objecting to the whereabouts clause. Firstly, he said it is unreasonable since the system invades upon the privacy of a player, especially when he is not playing cricket; Secondly, it violates the constitutional right which guarantees every Indian citizen freedom to maintain privacy; And thirdly, some Indian players have a high security cover and it is not feasible to expose their whereabouts to a third party.
He, however, said that the Board is willing to produce a player for testing within a day of intimation by WADA or the ICC. “If the ICC or WADA wants to test a player, they can inform the Board which will get him at the required location within 24 hours. This is our suggestion.”
BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said that the players were not trying to evade dope tests but were only concerned about their privacy.
“Indian players have never objected to dope tests even if it’s out of competition. We have told the ICC that if you want a player to be tested out of competition, you tell us the name from the listed players and we will produce him within 24 hours but the clause of giving their day-to-day whereabouts for the next three months is a problem,” Srinivasan said.
Manohar, Srinivasan and other members of the BCCI Working Committee met Indian skipper MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh in presence of ICC representatives to deliberate on the players’ inhibitions about the “whereabouts clause”.
“The players have expressed their concern earlier and also in today’s meeting, and it is our duty to stand by them. It is ok if WADA decides to test them during training or during a match, but it can’t certainly infringe upon their privacy,” Manohar said.
Asked if today’s decision and missing the July 31 deadline to sign the code will have any adverse effect on the Board and its players, he said: “I don’t know what the ICC will do. The implications of today’s meet will be decided only after we write to the ICC. Definitely, the issue will be discussed again. WADA is a private agency engaged by the ICC. Tomorrow the ICC may say we don’t want you. We can start our own dope testing mechanism.”