The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No Indians tested after Paarl

Pietermaritzburg: The International Cricket Council (ICC) decision to introduce dope tests in the World Cup not only made cricketers wary, but got the Boards to take ‘precautionary’ steps. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for instance, had two tests done — in New Zealand and in Mumbai — before the squad landed in South Africa.

Of course, this isn’t to suggest there has been substance abuse on the quiet — though questions continue to be raised after the Shane Warne scandal — but everyone has been keen to have a clean record. After all, even careless medication can invite big trouble.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, only two Indians have been tested in the three games till date. The players in question are Jawagal Srinath and Harbhajan Singh, who went through the exercise during India’s opening match, versus Holland in Paarl.

“We were under the impression that two players will be tested after every game. However, as it turns out, that won’t be the case — no names were drawn either before the Australia match (Centurion) or Wednesday’s game in Harare,” one of the sources pointed out.

Obviously, the impression created (by the ICC) that there will be dope tests on two players from each XII — to be determined by lots before the match — isn’t quite right.

As another source put it: “Essentially, it’s random testing.” He added: “That the Indians haven’t been intimated anything (the tests on Srinath and Harbhajan were last Wednesday) indicates all is clear. In any case, both got the green signal in tests conducted at the BCCI’s behest.”

It’s not clear whether the ICC is “obliged” to revert to the team management in case the results don’t show any abnormality.

A non-issue

Clive Lloyd, Match Referee during the India-Zimbabwe game, feels “too much” has been made out of the oversized bats. Speaking exclusively at the Harare Airport Thursday morning, he said: “My pre-match inspection wasn’t precedent-creating... Moreover, bats belonging to both teams didn’t meet the specifications and, so, a bit of ‘shaving’ was done. That's all.”

Lloyd added: “In fact, till now, I don’t even know who those bats belonged to... Match Referees have, in the past, done random checking and will continue to do so. It’s no big deal as the bottomline is I was satisfied before the game got underway.”

Nothing to do with any controversy, but Lloyd himself started the trend of using heavy bats.

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