Graveney worried over testing
England chairman of selectors David Graveney fears the sub-continent cricket nations could be 20 years behind England and Australia when it comes to addressing the issue of drugs.
Pakistan pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were sent home from the ICC Champions Trophy this week after testing positive for nandrolone.
Tests on 19 players were conducted at the behest of the Pakistan Cricket Board three weeks ago. Shoaib and Asif now await the results of their ‘B’ samples, which are expected later this week.
Graveney applauded Pakistan for instigating the tests but believes drug education programmes on the sub-continent still have a long way to go.
“The England squad have been tested for the last 20 years. All England players have been tested,” said Graveney, who has been heavily involved in anti-doping programmes with the Professional Cricketers' Association.
“The international players' body FICA (Federation of International Cricketers' Associations) is still trying to get sub-continent countries to have player associations.
“Their chief executive, Tim May, has a huge task of trying to educate cricketers around the world about the consequences of what they take.
“We are trying to still update our system even after 20 years, so you can imagine the task it is for a country that doesn't even have drug testing.”
All England players are subject to regular, random drug testing and the ECB chief executive David Collier explained how “proud” he is that English cricket has not had to face the same issues Pakistan are currently dealing with.
Shoaib and Asif recently recovered from serious injuries and Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer believes they could have taken the substances inadvertently during their rehabilitation.
Collier explained that the ECB, in conjunction with the PCA, have taken major steps to ensure all players know what they can and cannot take.
“You are always surprised when these sorts of things happen,” said Collier.
“This is the first tournament under the full WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules and English cricket can be proud that we have had that system in place for 20 years.
“I am delighted so far in England we have not had this type of issue.
“We have had a some recreational drug issues down the years but we work very hard with the PCA.
“Every single cricketer in England and Wales, every first-class cricketer, every Academy cricketer, got a one-to-one visit as part of a drug education programme.
“That programme is absolutely critical and it is something we are getting much better at. The ICC are copying the English system.”
Collier dismissed suggestions that the increasing workload on the game's leading players could drive them to deliberate steroid use.
“I don't think you can condone anything like that on workload,” Collier said at a lunch in London organised by the Sports Journalists' Association.
"In England we have agreed to a maximum of 105 days cricket. We will be below 100 this year and for the next two years. It is important we keep to that.
“When we had the ICC chief executives' meeting in June we talked about nations who had not been through testing processes, testing players prior to the Champions Trophy.
“Pakistan did that. It was clearly a Pakistan test in Malaysia that appears to have thrown up these two issues.
“It is good that the game identifies those to be dealt with.”