"If you play good cricket, a lot of bad things get hidden." - Kapil Dev
Yusuf Pathan, a hard-hitting batsman and offspinner was recently suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for five months on the grounds of a doping violation. Doping violation means that he consumed a forbidden material or a drug that is against the laws in sports.
Like various other professions, now even sports is filled with cases of drug consumption. There are a majority of players who are caught for consuming prohibited substance directly or indirectly. Often random tests are conducted during the Indian Premier League, like during the ICC tournaments to keep a tab if any sportsperson is using any kind of performance-enhancing drug.
After the case of Yusuf Pathan came forward, I decided to dig deep into this matter. And here I am with a record of some popular cricketers who were banned for doping.
According to Anti-Doping Rule Violations, it is each cricketer's personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters their body. A cricketer is responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found to be present in his or her sample.
India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan was suspended by the BCCI for five months on the grounds of a doping violation. He provided a urine sample for BCCI's anti-doping testing program on 16 March 2017. After the tests, it was revealed that the sample contained Terbutaline, a substance that is prohibited both in and out of competition according to the WADA Prohibited List of Substances. "The BCCI is satisfied with Pathan's explanation that he had taken Terbutaline inadvertently to treat an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug," said the BCCI report.
In 2008, Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif failed a doping test because he had a banned substance during the tournament that year. Asif was also involved in a drug claim in 2006 for taking nandrolone, an androgen and anabolic steroid for which he was banned for a year but that decision was later reversed.
Shoaib Akhtar, the fastest bowler ever in the history of cricket was banned in the year 2008 for two years when he tested positive for nandrolone. On the issue, Shoaib's doctor, Tauseef Razzaq said, "It is a possibility that nandrolone was mixed in herbal medicines that he has been taking."
Former Australian international cricketer, Shane Warne was sent back home from World Cup 2003 when he failed a drug test. He tested positive for a variety of diuretic which is used as a weight reducing drug.
According to ESPN, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said, "It's been a little disappointing for it to happen the way that it has. We just have to get on with things. We've got a big game of cricket, and we've got to keep this completely out of our minds."
Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah was suspended in 2016 for three months when he was found guilty of having chlorthalidone, which is used to treat high blood pressure, in his sample. The player was also banned from Asia Cup and ICC World T20.
In 2013, Pradeep Sangwan was banned for 18 months as his sample showed the presence of stanozolol, a forbidden steroid. AN Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan's first coach said, "Since he had no time to consult or visit the BCCI doctor, he saw a local doctor, who gave him an injection."
Scottish and Pakistani cricketer, Asim Butt was banned for a year from the sport when he failed the drug test. His sample showed the presence of ecstasy, a stimulant drug. Asim Butt died in his sleep in Lahore in 2009.
Ian Botham, a legendary player from England cricket team, was banned from the game in 1989. This happened when he was found guilty of smoking Cannabis. He was banned for 63 days, and when he returned, he broke Dennis Lillee's highest test-wicket taker record in 12 balls.
Stephen Fleming is among the most reputed captains of all time. But in 1993-94, he was caught in the middle of dope offenders for smoking cannabis in a hotel room. Along with him, Dion Nash and Matthew Hart were also suspended for the same. The trio was fined $175 and a brief while ban.
Upul Tharanga, Sri Lankan opener, was banned from the sport for six months in the year 2011. His sample contained prednisone and prednisolone. According to an ICC statement, he took the substances with a herbal drink that was given to him to ease the pain of his long-standing shoulder injury.
"We recognise that Upul has not been found guilty of deliberately cheating, but the ICC maintains its zero-tolerance approach towards doping for the benefit of all its stakeholders," Haroon Lorgat, ICC chief executive said.
Cover image: Rediff