ECB to step up anti-drugs programme
The England and Wales Cricket Board is stepping up attempts to discourage cricketers from using recreational drugs following the inquest into Surrey batsman Tom Maynard's death.
Maynard was electrocuted on a railway line and then struck by a train as he attempted to flee police after driving on a cocktail of drink and drugs last June.
The inquest at Westminster Coroners' Court on Tuesday heard that a post-mortem examination showed 23-year-old Maynard was nearly four times the legal limit to drive. Maynard had also taken cocaine and ecstasy after a night out with his two flatmates in Wandsworth, south London, and the inquest passed a verdict of accidental death.
An ECB statement said: "While the ECB accepts that recreational drug use is a part of modern society, we do not condone it and will take all reasonable steps to prevent its use within the game.
"We also believe we have a responsibility to educate all our players and are committed to supporting any player who needs help in this area. The ECB board has recently agreed to develop an out-of-competition testing programme to encompass recreational drugs, in co-operation with the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).
"These measures will supplement ECB's existing anti-doping programme which involves in- and out-of-competition testing through UK Anti-Doping. The ECB's testing programme applies to all registered county players and up to 200 tests are carried out on average each year. This approximates to around 35-40% of the overall number of registered professional players.
"Last year one player (Abdur Rehman of Somerset) tested positive for cannabis following an in-competition test. England players are tested in addition as part of the ICC's own anti-doping programme for all international cricketers which are also WADA compliant. To date, no England player has tested positive under these programmes."
Surrey have already introduced team-wide anti-drug policy which all players and management are required to abide by. Meanwhile, the PCA, in a statement, have given their backing to the ECB's stance.
It reads "Cricket has a comprehensive anti-doping programme, which has been in place for a number of years. Whilst the focus of this programme is primarily on performance-enhancing drugs, it does include in-competition testing for recreational drugs.
"The PCA is supporting the ECB in its examination of the feasibility of out-of-competition testing for recreational drugs. It confirms its support for such an initiative as long as it is linked to appropriate arrangements for treatment and rehabilitation in the event of a positive test."