Having decided to support its players on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s contentious ‘whereabouts’ clause, the BCCI has now told the ICC that any negotiations on the issue would be between ICC and WADA, and not with BCCI. India’s top cricketers have refused to accept the international clause requiring sportspersons to disclose their whereabouts in advance.
Board president Shashank Manohar refused to be drawn into stating whether India was once again gearing up for a clash with the sport’s parent body. However, as much as Manohar sought to bring peaceful negotiations to the table, it remains clear that BCCI is treading a path which no other member board of ICC was openly willing to take.
It is not just the Indian players who are apprehensive about WADA’s ‘out-of-competition testing’ clause. Players from other countries too felt equally insecure before signing up. However, it is only the Indian cricketers who have openly spoken about the subject.
“We believe the clause with regard to whereabouts of cricketers is unreasonable for three reasons. First, some (Indian) cricketers have security cover, and when you have such cover, you cannot disclose your whereabouts to a third person. Second, the privacy of individuals cannot be invaded. Third, the Indian constitution guarantees every citizen his privacy,” Manohar said after BCCI’s working committee meeting on Sunday where five senior cricketers — Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh — were present along with ICC officials.
Manohar subsequently also provided a solution to the deadlock in the meeting, certainly the players’ point of view, when he added: “We can appreciate players being tested even when they are not playing. But if ICC or WADA want to test the players, they can inform the board which will get the players at the required location within 24 hours. This is our suggestion.”
A couple of things Manohar said might not find many takers in the international sporting community. He referred to some Indian cricketers having security cover because of which their whereabouts were difficult to divulge. But the biggest names in world sport, like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Lance Armstrong, too have agreed to the same WADA norms. They have done so despite being as apprehensive about it as India’s superstar cricketers.