As Prithvi Shaw faces suspension, BCCI clarifies stand over handling players on doping

As Prithvi Shaw faces suspension, BCCI clarifies stand over handling players on doping

BCCI's anti-doping manager Dr Abhijit Salvi spares no effort to make Indian cricketers aware about the importance of anti-doping programmes but sometimes the players tend to miss it.

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw. (Photo Source: Twitter)

He is often looked up to as the next Sachin Tendulkar but Prithvi Shaw tasted the first major embarrassment of his career after getting suspended for doping violations. The 19-year-old, who has played in the only series since making his debut in October last year, was suspended for eight months starting March 2019 along with two other domestic cricketers – Akshay Dullarwar of Vidarbha and Divya Gajraj of Rajasthan. However, while the talented opening batsman faced his first major controversy, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) too faced the flak over its handling of youngsters.

Shaw has been a sensation till his first India call-up in England last year and lived up to the reputation in his international debut as well by slamming a century against the West Indies in his first-ever Test match. However, Shaw then got ruled out of the historic Test series in Australia after sustaining an ankle injury just on the eve of the first match in Adelaide.

He made a comeback in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament in February this year but did not find a place in the Test squad for the West Indies series owing to a hip injury. The suspension will keep him out of the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh as well.

Shaw tested positive during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for terbutaline – a banned substance that is commonly found in cough syrups. The BCCI also said that the cricketer had ingested the substance inadvertently. Terbutaline is included in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances, the BCCI said in a release.

Shaw, who has been slapped with a suspension which is retrospective in nature, is the second high-profile Indian cricketer after Yusuf Pathan to have faced such consequence for a doping violation. He was slapped with a retrospective ban spanning five months in January last year.

Sometimes players tend to ignore it, says BCCI official

While the controversy has piled criticism on the BCCI, the apex body’s anti-doping manager Dr Abhijit Salvi has clarified the board’s stand. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, he said he spares no effort to make Indian cricketers aware about the importance of anti-doping programmes but sometimes the players tend to miss it.

“I keep telling the players even if it is paracetamol, which is not banned, even if it is a tablet for fever, call me. I won’t be irritated. I am there to help you. But somewhere people tend to think it is okay, it is just cough syrup. How can it contain a banned substance? And then make the mistake,” Salvi was quoted a saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“I am sure Prithvi knew about BCCI having an anti-doping programme and the helpline. He attended at least three anti-doping education programmes with us. He might have even attended the ICC’s programme conducted at the Under-19 World Cup in 2018. So he was well aware, but probably he just overlooked it and thought to himself ‘okay, the cough syrup shouldn’t be that dangerous’.”

Salvi also said that there are junior players who regularly call him from different parts of the country with queries over doping violations.