Anti Doping Laws for Cricketers
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This article is written by Dhruv Vatsyayan of Law School, BHU pursuing his 1st year of B.A.LL.B and is a cricket enthusiast by passion. This article deals with anti-doping laws for cricketers with a special focus on ICC’s Anti-Doping Code.


In June 2019, when the news of Indian Cricketing wunderkind, Prithvi Shaw’s involvement broke into national news, the whole cricketing fraternity was left in shock.

Another Big name in Indian Cricket, Yusuf Pathan was also charged under anti-doping laws along with Prithvi Shaw, which according to Dr. Abhijeet Salvi, Anti-Doping manager of BCCI, has happened due to casual approach of players as well as of the support staff and lack of awareness towards Anti-Doping provisions and setbacks of being involved in Doping. 

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Now, in today’s scenario when both, International Cricket Council and Board for Control of Cricket in India has become intolerant regarding doping in the sport, it’s a necessity for every Cricketer and people involved in the management of Cricket to be aware of Anti-Doping provisions in India, particularly in Cricket.

In this article, we will be discussing briefly about Anti-Doping in Cricket, Provisions of BCCI’s Anti Doping Code and it’s execution.

The Anti-Doping Laws

Whenever we hear about Doping, the first thing that comes to our mind is using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs by sportspersons. To a certain extent, it’s true that doping is about the usage of forbidden drugs, however, it also includes using biological methods like gene doping and blood transfusions.

To keep the spirit of sports alive and intact, it’s necessary to prohibit Doping among the sportspersons.

So, in the year 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established to realize the goals of the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sports, with a motto of creating a world where every sports person can compete in a doping-free environment.

WADA publishes an annual list of drugs and methods which are prohibited to be used by the athletes and the list is contained in World Anti-Doping Code. All the signatories of WADA including India are expected to abide by the code and legislate their respective anti-doping laws.

The organization which carries forward the task of conforming with the rules and regulations of WADA in India is the National Anti-Doping Association, i.e. NADA.

The main functions of NADA, as specified on their website are:

  • Implementation of Anti-Doping Code to ensure compliance by all the sports associations in India.
  • To conduct Dope testing programs.
  • To encourage Anti-Doping research and education.
  • To adopt best practice standards and systems to enable effective implementation and continuous improvement in the program.

However, Doping and Anti-doping mainly fall under the purview of Sports Management and Sports Physiology, but in this article, we will keep ourselves to the legal aspects of the Doping and will discuss Anti-doping laws in cricket.

Anti-Doping in Cricket

Now, one may question how a highly skill-based sports like cricket can be affected by the menace of doping. With the past decade witnessing the emergence of shorter versions of the game like Twenty-20 and T-10 cricket, cricket has now become more of a game of strength and power.

The Fast bowlers and pinch-hitters are most likely to use these doping drugs and methods as their skill requires a certain threshold of strength too.

In the words of former Indian cricket team physio John Gloster, in modern cricketing times, you can’t survive on technique and skill alone, as cricket is an endurance-based sport which sometimes also requires short bursts of power and strength. Thus, the cricketers have also become Doping prone.

Thus to combat the challenge of Doping in cricket, the apex body in the world cricket, i.e. International Cricket Council, became a signatory of WADA in the year 2006.

However, ICC had been conducting anti-doping tests since as early as 2002, but becoming a signatory of WADA was a turning point as from now on, ICC had to strictly adhere by the World Anti-Doping Code.

To pursue the same, ICC has adopted an ICC Anti-Doping Code, which is consistent with the WADA Code.

So, now let us take a deeper look into the ICC Anti-Doping Code.

Anti-Doping Code by ICC

To maintain the integrity of the sport and to keep the sport free from doping, ICC has adopted an Anti-Doping Code in accordance with the code adopted by the World Anti Doping Agency as part of compliance policy due to being a signatory of WADA since the year 2006.

So, let us discuss the code in brief.


Scope, particularly here, means that who are the people coming in the ambit of this code.

Article 1 of this code exhaustively deals with the scope and application of the code and creates an onus on the players and the other staff to acquaint themselves with the code.

So, any player who has participated in any international match, either as a player in the playing XI or as a substitute player in the past 24 months, i.e. 2 years will automatically bound by the Code and shall need to comply with it.

For illustration, let us suppose a dope test is scheduled for 21st January 2020, and there is this player Milind Deshpande, who has not played any international matches since 20th January 2017. So, he remains out of the scope of this code. 

However, it doesn’t set its jurisdiction over the domestic level players across the world and thus it provides for the duty of the Nation specific cricketing body to organize such dope tests in their territory.

Article 1.2.2 of this code also provides for a provision that once a player is retired from international cricket, he will not be bound by the code unless they didn’t notify ICC of their retirement in writing.

Coaches, trainers, medical staff and other support staff also come under the purview of this code and are expected to comply with the code and make themselves acquainted with the same. Article 1.4.7 clearly states that using and even possessing such prohibited substances by the officials and support staff would amount to a violation of the code and will be punishable.

Now, let us discuss in what ways the code could be violated which would aware the cricketers to refrain from being involved in such activities.

Violation of the Code

According to this code, there are various acts imbibed in this code which would amount to doping. Let us discuss them.

Following are the ways in which this code could be violated:

  • Presence of a prohibited substance or its traces in the player’s sample.
  • Using prohibited substances without establishing that such use is for means of Therapeutic Use Exemption.
  • Failing to submit or dodging sample collection as per notification of the authority.
  • Failing to provide whereabouts details.
  • Muddling with or attempting to muddle with any part of the doping control.
  • Possession or trafficking of prohibited substances or methods.
  • Association with any organization or person, which directly or indirectly promotes doping.

Now let us understand these all one by one.
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  • Presence of a prohibited substance or its traces in the sample of the player.

This code creates a duty upon the player to ensure that none of the substances from the prohibited list enters his/her body. For example, If Fluoxymesterone, which is a prohibited substance according to the latest updated list in the year 2019, is found in the sample of a player, then he must be treated as and would be charged for violation of the code. Also, lack of knowledge, fault or intent will not amount to any defense for anti-doping violations and neither they are required to establish the violations.

  • Using Prohibited substances or methods without establishing that such use is for means of Therapeutic Use Exemption.

Let us first understand what is the Therapeutic Use Exemption. It is exemptions provided by WADA in such situations where using a prohibited substance becomes essential for therapeutic reasons.

So, this clause establishes that unless it is allowed under the Therapeutic Use Exemption, a player can not use or even possess any prohibited substance.

For illustration, Desmopressin, which is a prohibited drug, is clinically used for preventing night bedwetting but, can also be used to control and decrease the frequency of dehydration. Thus, unless it is not necessary for therapeutic use, any trace of Desmopressin found in players’ samples will amount to a violation of the code.

  • Failing to submit or dodging sample collection as per notification of the authority.

According to this proviso, any player who dodges sample collection or fails to submit his/her sample in due time as per the latest ICC notification, then it will amount to a violation of the code and will constitute doping.

  • Failing to provide whereabouts details.

Firstly let us understand what is whereabouts details.

As defined in the code, whereabouts details are details of the player’s location when with the team or otherwise and it facilitates ease in conducting the doping tests by the Authority, here, ICC. This is to provide a daily 60 minutes testing slot during tours and travel in compliance with the regulations and notification of the WADA.

Following are the things covered under whereabout details:

  1. Overnight hotel location when with team
  2. Location
  3. The full address of the location
  4. Specific dates and time
  5. Whereabouts during team training, all the matches, and tours
  • Muddling with or any attempt to muddle with any part of doping control.

This part of the code deals with tampering with the doping control process or any attempt to tamper with the doping control and establishes that this will also lead to violation of the code.

It includes interfering or bribing the doping control officer, providing fraudulent information or interfering with a potential witness or evidence. For example, if a player is addicted to inhaling a prohibited substance and then his fellow teammate sees the same but due to his seniority in the team, the player accused easily intimidated with the witness player, then it will also amount to a violation of the anti-doping code.

  • Possession or trafficking of prohibited substances or methods.

Even possession of the prohibited substances is restricted under this code and so is the trafficking of such substances or methods. This too will amount to a violation of the code.

Burden of Proof

Under this code, the onus of establishing the proof of violation of the code lies with ICC itself. The standard of proof according to Article 3.1.1, is less than what constitutes proof beyond any reasonable doubts. However, when ICC code places a burden of proof on the player or any other person, then the standard of proof shall be a balance of probability.

Methods of establishing the Facts

As enlisted in Article 3.2 of the code, the following methods are there to establish the facts and the presumptions:

  • Analytical methods after consulting respective scientific officers and experts.
  • Compliance with the international standards as laid down in the WADA’s code of anti-doping.
  • Sample analysis by the laboratories approved by WADA.
  • Facts established by a Court or any other disciplinary tribunal having competent jurisdiction over the player or person in question.

Prohibited List of Substances and Methods

By virtue of the ICC Code, ICC prepares the prohibited list and regularly updates it in accordance with the prohibited list as set out in WADA’s code.

It includes those drugs and methods which have great clinical and medical importance but also can be used as a supplement to enhance the performance of an individual in the sporting arena.

However, a player may be granted permission to use an entry in this list subject to the Therapeutic Use Exemption.

The latest updated prohibited list is available on the following link:

Analysis of the Sample

The Samples Collected by ICC to carry forward a dope test, shall be analyzed according to certain rules and norms. These are:

  • Analysis to be done in Approved Laboratories: For the purpose of analysis of the sample, only WADA approved laboratories shall be used. However, the choice shall exclusively be determined by the ICC.
  • Purpose of Analysis: The samples shall be analyzed only to detect prohibited substances or usage of prohibited methods and to assist ICC with the sample results and would serve no other purpose. Also, samples can be collected and stored for further analyses in the future too.
  • Restrictions: All the samples collected thereon shall be the property of ICC and it will be entitled to determine all matters regarding the samples and analyses. However, the sample would not be used for research purposes without the consent of the respective player.
  • Further Analysis: The samples collected for analysis according to the ICC code, may be used in the future for further analysis as the case may be.

Fair Hearings

For further proceedings, ICC shall constitute an Anti-Doping panel which would be presided over by an attorney and would have 6 other members in it. The members of the panel shall be independent of ICC.

In such cases, when a player or person refuses allegations made by ICC, the case shall be transferred further to the Appellate Tribunal for adjudication. The tribunal will consist of 3 members who would be appointed by the president of the Anti-Doping Panel.

The proceeding shall go on in the ICC headquarters at Dubai or any other place as specified by ICC itself.

As stated in Article 8.1.6 and 8.1.7 of the Code, it gives the right of fair hearing to the accused and doesn’t proceed on as Ex Parte hearings, following the doctrine of Natural Justice.


Following are the sanctions which can be imposed upon the player if found guilty:

  • Disqualification of any individual results in any ICC events: If the player is found to be involved in doping during any of the ICC events then all the results due to that individual player shall be canceled and the medals and any kind of other awards shall be seized. The Rankings and points achieved would stand canceled.
  • The imposition of a period of Ineligibility: As specified in Article 10.2.2 of the Code, the period of ineligibility shall be of 2 years and during this period the player would be banned from participating in any ICC events. However, the punishment can be quashed midway after observing the response of the guilty during the first year of the ban.
  • Elimination of period of ineligibility: Later if the player proves that he/she was not involved in doping and proves no fault then the disqualification and ban would be eliminated retrospectively thereafter.


Article 13 of the code sets out the provisions for an appeal against decisions in Anti-Doping cases. Decisions that established that an Anti-Doping rule was violated and such decisions where the person involved was punished with sanctions and bans can be appealed against.

According to Article 13.2.2, Following are the persons entitled to appeal:

  • The player or person subject to the decision
  • The other party in the case
  • National Anti-Doping Organization of the person’s country
  • WADA

Appeals against sanctions imposed can be appealed to the CAS of ICC by the WADA itself or person’s National Anti-Doping Organization. 

So these were the most important provisions of the code and in my next article, I’ll be elaborating the Anti-Doping Code by BCCI. 


So, due to highly frequent activities regarding doping in sports and especially in cricket one needs to be aware of the Code explained above and should participate in the sport following the same.

To keep the Gentlemen’s spirit of Cricket alive, implementation of such Anti-Doping Codes in necessary and hopefully the article will help to create awareness against doping involved in the sport and ensure the longevity of the Gentlemen’s spirit.

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