There appears to be a lack of trust between the National Anti Doping Agency and the Board of Control for Cricket in India which has led to the former raising questions on BCCI's anti doping regimen. The Indian cricket board, however, reiterated that it follows a transparent system of dope testing in domestic cricket and that it was fully conforming with rules of anti doping. However, the national anti doping agency expressed its concerns on the system of sample collection and the absence of data sharing post the testing. NADA is the nodal agency for anti doping recognised by World Anti Doping Agency in India.
The problem arises from the fact that BCCI has contracted IDTM—a foreign anti doping service provider with global network of Doping Control officers and blood collection officers—to collect samples for testing of cricketers. IDTM provides anti doping services to ICC, WADA and various independent sporting organisations and events. It was first used by BCCI during the IPL.
But why IDTM and not NADA? “We had brought IDTM during the IPL in 2010 as it was a domestic tournament but with international stars,” said a senior top BCCI official who has overseen the anti doping programme. BCCI conducts dope tests in all its senior domestic tournaments—IPL, Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy.
The NADA, however, is not happy with a foreign agency being used for sample collection even though all testing is conducted at the National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi, which is WADA approved and accredited. “NDTL is testing samples collected but those were not done under the supervision of NADA. BCCI may have a foreign agency doing the sample collection but that agency is sued in ICC events. As per rules of the country, National Sports Federations call NADA for all domestic competitions. If BCCI are themselves getting samples collected for domestic events, there could be a Conflict of Interest, which should not be there. We do not have access to the data,” said a senior NADA official.
But as per the BCCI, all data analysis is shared with the ICC and the WADA. “We have had cases where players have been penalised—the case of Pradeep Sangwan, medium pacer from Delhi, is one such instance,” said the BCCI official. Besides, its wary of NADA's record of allegedly outing names of athletes flunking the dope tests.
NADA officials, however, say that the national team gets selected on the basis of the domestic tournaments, therefore NADA is the authority to conduct dope tests in India. “If BCCI uses foreign agency tomorrow, other NSFs too would go in search of outside agencies. NADA decides who and when to conduct the tests. Our responsibility is to see all rules are followed regardless of any NSF being rich or poor,” they said.
BCCI, however, reposes full faith in its dope testing mechanisms. “We are not doing it on our own. IDTM is WADA approved agency. We also want our sport to be clean. Till now no Indian player has been tested positive. We have a very good education programme even at age group level,” said the cricket official.
BCCI cites the case of whereabouts pool for cricketers and how it fought on players' behalf and got conditional waiver from the ICC and the WADA. “We took the responsibility of informing the whereabouts of our players listed in the testing pool to WADA. We do so regularly, without fail.”
The NADA, meanwhile, is mulling amending rules which will make it mandatory for all national teams in all sports undergoing mandatory dope tests conducted by it before leaving for any international or bilateral event.