Speed demands more tests
Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, has called on teams to carry out more drugs tests on a more frequent basis.
His comments come just a day after Pakistan pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were sent home from the ICC Champions Trophy for failing tests for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone.
“The current situation is unfortunate but what we must do is use it as a springboard to move forward,” Speed said.
“Pakistan [are] one of five of our full members that are already testing their players outside of ICC events and I would urge those 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 – we can identify it, deal with it and make sure the game gets stronger as a result.”
Speed also said the ICC would now step back as the situation was due to be dealt with internally.
He added: “The matter at hand now is an internal one for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and, having spoken to its chairman, Dr Nazeem Ashraf, I am confident it will be handled with the appropriate thoroughness.”
The five countries already testing their players are Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.
Speed stated that cricket had no history of players using performance-enhancing drugs and he wanted to keep it that way.
“Traditionally cricket has been regarded as a low risk sport when it comes to the subject of drug use but that does not mean we can be or are complacent in any way,” he said.
“Cricketers are role models. They need to be sending out the right messages to the public and that is one of the reasons why we must have a zero tolerance on drug use in any context.”
The sport recently joined hands with the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Speed stressed the importance of educating teams and their players.
“We have an ICC Anti-Doping Code, in July we signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, and prior to the ICC Champions Trophy all our participating Members confirmed they are undertaking education programs with their players,” Speed said.
“To this end we have produced an anti-doping DVD which has been distributed to all the participating teams at the ICC Champions Trophy and it is part of our ongoing commitment on this subject.”