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Champions Trophy was drug-free, says ICC

Random dope tests conducted on 24 players turned out to be negative, a relieved ICC said.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 13:16 IST

Random dope tests conducted on 24 cricketers at the recent Champions Trophy in India turned out to be negative, a relieved International Cricket Council said on Tuesday.

The lone blip was the Pakistani pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) before the biennial event.

Akhtar and Asif were both sent home without playing in the tournament when the PCB announced the results a day before Pakistan's first match against Sri Lanka in Jaipur on October 17.

The PCB later banned Akhtar for two years and Asif for one year.

The Champions Trophy was the first tournament involving Test-playing nations where doping tests were conducted since the ICC signed the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) code in July.

Two players from each team were randomly selected for testing from six of the tournament's 21 matches, including one semi-final and the final between eventual champions Australia and the West Indies, the ICC said in a statement.

The tests were submitted to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Malaysia.

"The fact all the tests conducted at the Champions Trophy have been negative is great news for our sport," ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said in the statement.

"It confirms cricket's reputation for being low risk when it comes to drug use but that does not mean the ICC, or any of our members, can afford to be complacent in this area.

"To this end, five of our full members - Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa - are already testing outside of ICC events and the West Indies is set to join that list in the near future.

"We would encourage all our remaining members not already doing so to follow suit for the good of the game.

"That way, if cricket does have a drug-related problem - and I do not believe it has - it can be identified and dealt with so that we make sure our sport gets stronger as a result.

"We should never forget that cricketers are role models and they need to be sending out the right messages to the public, and that is one of the reasons why we must continue to have a zero tolerance on drug use," said Speed.

Random testing will also take place at the World Cup in the Caribbean next March.

First Published: Nov 15, 2006 13:09 IST