The purpose of anti-doping in sport is essentially to protect the integrity of sport, provide a level playing field for all participants and eliminate the cheats. But when the large majority (over 80%) of anti-doping rule violations appear to be inadvertent, we must ask ourselves, are we doing everything to ensure our players are equipped to make good decisions?
In the last 11+ years, cricket has had 32 anti-doping rule violations ranging from international cricketers participating in Cricket World Cups to Club cricket. The violations include the presence of a prohibited substance in a player’s sample, whereabouts violations and violations owing to the possession of banned substances. Of the 32 violations in cricket, 81% account for violations arising from domestic level cricket where the sanctioning authority is either the Member Board or the National Anti-Doping Organisation.
An Athlete's first experience with anti-doping should be Education not Doping Control. This is the key underpinning principle in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s International Standard for Education and is fully supported by the ICC. Therefore, any cricketer playing domestic cricket or higher who may be subject to the possibility of drug testing by an Anti-Doping Organisation should have at the very least received anti-doping education; provided access to anti-doping resources and be aware of where to go or who to call for anti-doping assistance.
It is recognized that the vast majority of cricketers have every intention of competing clean but without awareness and access to the relevant information they remain at risk of making ill-informed decisions. Anti-Doping education remains the responsibility of the ICC and all its Member Boards. To protect our game, cricket needs timely, relevant, and effective education that seeks to promote behavior that aligns with the values of clean sport and helps prevent cricketers from doping intentionally or inadvertently.
In its efforts to prioritise education in Cricket, the ICC has asked Full Members to develop long-term anti-doping education plans and provided resources to assist Members in doing so. Awareness and education do not have to come at a huge cost. With the assistance of National/Regional Anti-Doping Organisations around the world and the ICC to support in the delivery of education and the building of awareness, no cricketer should be left unaware of their anti-doping roles and responsibilities, as well as the risks and consequences of doping.
For information on the ICC’s anti-doping education resources please contact the ICC Anti-Doping team – email@example.com.