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WADA clause: Support for BCCI gets louder

The strong stand taken by the BCCI against WADA’s contentious ‘whereabouts’ clause has found a groundswell of support, with the cricket boards of six other Test-playing nations, including Cricket Australia, indicating to the ICC that they see merit in the concerns raised by Indian administrators.

According to sources, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland set the ball rolling with a missive to ICC stating that the “objections” raised by the BCCI were “genuine” and the same should be discussed at the next executive board meeting to be held in Johannesburg next month, where all member countries will be represented. Sutherland also suggested that the five-member special committee, formed by the ICC to discuss BCCI’s stand, be disbanded.

CA probably felt that the panel was too India-specific with three Indians members in it. The boards now want to get involved in deliberations over the issue and thus want the executive to mull it rather than a just small panel.

The change of heart on the part of Cricket Australia, which itself is WADA-compliant, appears to have stirred other boards as well, with the likes of England (ECB), South Africa (CSA), New Zealand (NZC), Sri Lanka (SLC), Zimbabwe (ZC) and Bangladesh (BCB) also joining the chorus and asking ICC to “rethink WADA’s ‘whereabouts’ clause methodically”. The stand of the Pakistan and West Indies boards is not known because of internal flux.

The ICC, which itself is under the WADA umbrella, was taken aback when the BCCI summarily rejected WADA’s clause last month. The ICC became further apprehensive when India’s attorney-general GE Vahanvati opined that the ‘whereabouts’ clause did infringe on the cricketers’ right to privacy as guaranteed by the country’s constitution.

To the ICC’s credit, it recognized the merit in Vahanvati’s observation and promptly called off the two-day meeting of the special committee slated in Dubai on September 5 and 6. The decision was internally conveyed to all ICC constituents. Whether the committee from India – which includes IS Bindra (principal advisor to ICC), N Srinivasan (BCCI secretary) and Anil Kumble (players’ representativel) – has been disbanded or whether it will meet at a later date is not known.

Meanwhile, the ICC has requested WADA to formulate a cricket-specific code. It remains to be seen whether WADA will oblige.

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