Strongly backing its players, the BCCI on Sunday rejected a controversial WADA anti-doping clause which makes it mandatory for cricketers to be available for out of competition testing, a decision which puts the Indian Board on collision course with the ICC.
The BCCI said it has no problem with players being tested as part of the WADA Code, but it fully shares their concerns on the 'Whereabouts Clause', which requires them to furnish information about their location three months in advance for out of competition tests.
The decision to back its players was taken at an emergency meeting of the Working Committee which deliberated at length on the issue. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were present in the meeting.
"We are agreeing with the dope testing code, we are only objecting to the system. The issue is out of competition testing. Our players are ready to be tested but they say they are not in a position to give their whereabouts. We back the players on this," BCCI President Shashank Manohar told reporters in Mumbai after the meeting.
"You cannot invade the privacy of individuals. I don't know what the ICC will do. The implications of this decision would be decided after we write to the ICC.
The BCCI gave three reasons for not agreeing to the clause, saying it was unreasonable, violated the Indian constitution and was an invasion of the players' privacy.
"The players have security cover and they cannot disclose their whereabouts with a security cover. Secondly, the privacy of an individual cannot be invaded and thirdly, our Constitution gives a guarantee regarding an individual's privacy. You cannot invade on somebody's privacy 24 hours a day for 365 days," Manohar said.
The BCCI's tough stand has put the ICC in a quandary since cricketers of most other Test playing nations have agreed to sign the code. It effectively signals a fresh tussle between the BCCI and the game's governing body, which have been at loggerheads on a number of occasions in recent past.
Asked the options ICC might have in the wake of BCCI's refusal to sign the code, Manohar said it was not necessary to adhere to the code.
"WADA is a private agency engaged by the ICC. Tomorrow the ICC may say we don't want you. We can have our own dope testing mechanism," Manohar said.
The BCCI said though the code has been in discussion since 2006, the mechanism for testing was never deliberated upon in any of the ICC meetings.