POSTED: August 3rd 2009

Indian cricketers urged to end battle with WADA on 'whereabouts'

India's Sachin Tendulkar: among the world's finest batsmen /
India's Sachin Tendulkar: among the world's finest batsmen /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/NEW DELHI: Cricket appeared at the Olympic Games for the first and last time in 1900 in Paris when Great Britain won gold and France won silver; in fact, they were the only two nations to compete and the French team comprised mainly employees from the British Embassy.

Since then the issue of cricket at the summer Games has never been a serious consideration. Now however, after the surge in popularity of the short-time twenty20 format, the possibility is back on the, albeit very distant, horizon.

This is the background to the sudden clash which has arisen in India over the “whereabouts” demand enforced in the updated 2009 version of the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

Cricket, which remains a significant professional sport still only in the nations of the former British Empire, had taken a comparatively relaxed attitude to WADA and ‘whereabouts’ until recently because the issue of Olympic participation had been irrelevant.

Deadline missed

Not any more. WADA, cricket and the Olympics have swung into combined focus after India’s cricketers, supported by their Board of Control, ignored an August 1 deadline for ‘whereabouts’ compliance.

Players from other cricketing nations have signed up, following a lead given in 2006 by the International Cricket Council. Last year the ICC also approved out-of-competition testing.

However the powerful BCCI has deemed ‘whereabouts’ both an intrusion into personal freedom, a risk to individual security (a concern stemming from a bomb attack on the Sri Lanka team in Pakistan in March) and irrelevant to cricket.

The board has been warned to think again by Randhir Singh, secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia. He said: “The players must fall into line. Security is an issue for thousands of other sportsmen around the world. I think and hope this is merely a question of misunderstanding.”

Failure to settle the issue could affect India’s participation in the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa from September 22 to October 5.

Keywords · cricket · twenty20 · Olympic Games · BCCI · WADA · whereabouts · OCA

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