While declaring that “no one” --- not the Indian cricket board (BCCI), not the players and no one else in the cricketing establishment --- had been in touch with him, India’s Sports Minister, Dr MS Gill, was equally clear that it was in India’s best interests that the cricketers adhere to WADA rules and regulations.
“The drugs business has to be put away, there is no question of that. If a stringent code is the procedure, then everyone has to follow it.
“I’ve read that many of our national heroes (non-cricketing sportspersons who have signed the WADA code) say they are fine with it. If anybody else has a difficulty with this, or a technical objection, it has to be sorted out. In this case, the International Cricket Council will have to take it up with WADA. From what I understand, the ICC signed up with WADA some years ago, as did its units. Now (for the BCCI) to say you haven’t read the clauses is odd.”
Dr Gill said India had to be compliant with the world. “Over the past year, I have worked very hard to make the National Anti-Doping Agency WADA compliant. Anything that has been asked for, money, technical staff etc, I’ve made sure the lab has received. It is now a world class facility, so much so that even countries like Sweden are sending samples here to be tested.”
He said the anti-doping tribunal had been reconstituted to make the process smoother. “Prompt testing, prompt results, prompt decisions and prompt appeal, that’s the way it should be”.
Dr Gill said the whole purpose of this was to “make sure India was at the forefront of the anti-doping crusade, as it is in everything else.”
The BCCI, however, disagreed.
“The Sports Minister has got his personal view on the subject but we at BCCI have taken a position which ensures what is promised in the Indian constitution,” said BCCI spokesman Rajeev Shukla.