Cricket - Cricket authorities to step up testing

Plans to expand recreational drug testing in English cricket are set to be implemented later this year.

PA Sport
Cricket - Cricket authorities to step up testing
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PCA chief executive Angus Porter has confirmed plans to step up drug testing in domestic cricket

The tragic death of Tom Maynard last summer, while the Surrey batsman was under the influence of cocaine and ecstasy, has encouraged those within the game to place the matter at the top of their schedule. While performance-enhancing drugs are routinely tested for in and out of competition, no provision currently exists for out-of-competition tests on substances that do not boost performance.

But Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Angus Porter told Press Association Sport: "We are working closely with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and going through the details of what the testing would be like and they are currently evaluating different testing companies and options."

He added: "We're at the level of trying to work out a detailed plan having agreed all the principles. We are approaching it from a duty of care perspective and hopefully we can do an initial screen this summer.

"This is a game-wide initiative. We had discussions with Surrey following Tom's tragic death and have been collaborating very closely with the ECB. We have also talked to our members and they are in support of this."

Porter is eager to stress that the plans are aimed at helping any professional players who may be struggling with drugs, rather than seeking to find and punish those who may be involved.

Rather than sanctions, a structured programme of help will be offered.

"We are keeping it very separate from the existing (performance-enhancing) drug-testing programme and linking it to a process of counselling and treatment in the case of any positive finding.

"Sportsmen are different in the sense that they are role models and they have a high profile but, that aside, one of the things we are battling is the confusion that if a sportsman takes drugs they are a cheat. Clearly if they are not performance-enhancing, that is not the case.

"We are not leading the world on this. Other sports have similar programmes - rugby union, football, as does Australian cricket to some extent. We are learning from that and taking the best from it."

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