Prithvi Shaw ban: WADA needs to rethink and make sports specific policies, says BCCI anti-doping manager - Exclusive
In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, Dr Abhijit Salvi, BCCI’s anti-doping manager, spoke about the details of Prithvi Shaw’s case and the need for WADA to rethink its policies and make the list of prohibited substances more sports specific.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Tuesday banned Mumbai and India batting star Prithvi Shaw for 8 months after the youngster tested positive for prohibited substance Terbutaline. “Mr. Shaw had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI’s anti-doping testing program during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on 22nd February 2019 in Indore. His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances,” a BCCI press release stated.
The release also added that “Shaw responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV but asserting that it was inadvertent, being caused by his ingestion of the over the counter cough syrup he had taken for his cough.”
Watch | Prithvi Shaw ban: BCCI anti-doping manager throws lights on details
Shaw immediately issued a statement stating that his ban should serve as an eye opener for other athletes and everyone should follow protocol and consult authorities before consuming any kind of medicine. In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, Dr Abhijit Salvi, BCCI’s anti-doping manager, spoke about the details of Prithvi Shaw’s case and the need for WADA to rethink its policies and make the list of prohibited substances more sports specific.
Here are the excerpts:
Q) So what exactly happened in the Prithvi Shaw case?
AS: As you can see Prithvi during the Mushtaq Ali Trophy in February was suffering from cough and he spoke to his father about it. His father advised him to pick the cough syrup from the local shop which he then picked up from a local pharmacy, not realising that this will contain prohibited substance and that resulted in a positive test.
Q) Prithvi is someone who has played international cricket and he should definitely have been more careful. But there are scores of other players who might get exposed to such prohibited substances. Do you think the BCCI has done enough to educate all the players?
AS: BCCI has had an extensive anti-doping program right since 2010 and before the domestic season each year the officials go to each state and it is mandatory to attend these programs for all the players. So we have been covering these education programs for last 9 years now and BCCI also has a 24x7 anti-doping helpline where cricketers can call in and check whether the medicines they are taking are banned or not.
Q) Can you elaborate a bit on the prohibited substance that Prithvi took?
AS: Prithvi tested for the substance called Terbutaline which is commonly found in cough syrups and is banned on match days as well as on non-match days. It is prohibited for all athletes at all time. In fact last year Yusuf Pathan & Abhishek from Punjab tested positive for the same substance.
Q) Do you think it is a performance enhancer or can impact the performance of a cricketer?
AS:No, if you talk about cricket then not really but in sports like cycling and long distance running it can help enhance performance if consumed. But honestly I don’t believe Terbutaline contributes to performance enhancement in cricket.
Q) In that case do you think WADA should have different rules for a sport like cricket?
AS: In my personal opinion yes, there are lots of medicines which do not make a cricketer better just by taking those medicines. So in future we need to make a representation and probably WADA needs to rethink on the policies and the medicines have to be sports specific rather than having a general list.
Q) How was Prithvi Shaw’s ban calculated?
AS: Recently there was a change in the WADA rules and the ban is for 4 years for taking prohibited substances. But that is mostly for hardcore substances and ones that are really performance enhancing. There is a class of drugs which are called specified substances and these can be commonly found in foods, supplements and commonly used medicines and people can inadvertently take them and test positive. There is a range of punishment and it can go from no punishment to 2 years. Depending on the fault of the athlete the punishment is calculated.
In this case the BCCI referred to a verdict by the Court of Arbitration in the case of a tennis player Marin Cilic and they had given guidelines on how do you calculate the punishment. There is a range of 0-8 months, 8 to 16 months and 16 to 24 months depending on the fault. BCCI felt Prithvi fell in the middle bracket and hence the 8-month ban.