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Panel appointed to probe Tharanga case

A three member panel has been appointed by the Ministry of Sports to investigate the alleged doping charges against opening batsman, Upul Tharanga. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

cricket Updated: May 31, 2011 01:06 IST

A three member panel has been appointed by the Ministry of Sports to investigate the alleged doping charges against opening batsman, Upul Tharanga.

The panel was appointed after Tharanga became the first Sri Lankan international cricketer to fail a dope test after a random check during the cricket World Cup, the country's sports ministry said on Monday.

Two doctors with experience in sports medicine are part of the panel to be headed by sports ministry secretary Udaya Seneviratne.

Interestingly, a news report has said the banned substance was prescribed to Tharanga by a doctor who has treated other international players including Sachin Tendulkar.

Though the report didn't name the doctor, it said the doctor is considered to be someone close to a powerful political personality in the country – in fact, among those who are considered to be the personality’s personal physicians.

"The practitioner is often recommended to sports personalities and others by the VVIP, and has treated several sportspersons including Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and test players Gautam Gambhir and Asish Nehra, all of whom visited Colombo to consult the high profile Sri Lankan born alternate medical practioner. Several Sri Lankan national cricketers and other sportspersons have also consulted him in recent times," the Sunday Times newspaper said.

While the newspaper didn’t name the doctor or the VVIP, Gambhir and Nehra had paid a much publicised visit to Sri Lanka last year to be treated by Dr Eliyantha White, physician to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"Two leading Indian cricketers, opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, and opening bowler Ashish Nehra, will be returning to India from Sri Lanka tonight after recovery from injuries received while playing in the current IPL series. They suffered serious injury while playing in the IPL tournament, which threatened to keep them out of the current series, and were treated in Sri Lanka by reputed Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Eliyantha White, at the request of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa," a statement from Rajapaksa's office said on March 22, 2010.

Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage didn’t comment about the doctor's identity but said statements will be taken from all concerned. "The committee will record statements from Tharanga, the doctor and board officials. We are waiting from an official report from the ICC," Aluthgamage told HT.

The Sunday Times report added that Tharanga had retained a lawyer to defend himself at an upcoming ICC inquiry into his doping results.