ICC announces target-testing at CWC Guyana Chronicle
March 1, 2007

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CMC) – International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed confirmed yesterday the ICC’s intention to target Test players for banned substances during the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean.

These target-tests, the ICC says, will be in addition to ICC’s commitment to randomly test four players -- two from each side -- in 17 of the tournament’s 51 matches.

The tests may take place at any time from March 2 onwards, the start of the tournament’s support period ahead of the warm-up matches.

The ICC’s decision to target-test has been taken in the wake of Pakistan players Shoaib Ahktar and Mohammed Asif testing positive for banned substances last year.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) withdrew the two players from the ICC Champions Trophy in October as a result of those findings, which came about following internal tests prior to the tournament.

The PCB banned the players but those bans were thrown out on appeal and the ICC was unable to intercede as its own anti-doping code -- which is World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant -- only governs ICC events.

WADA is seeking to challenge the overturning of the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a matter that is still ongoing.

“From an ICC perspective, having the option to target-test as well as the already-scheduled tests in place means that if a player does have anything in his system then there is a very strong possibility he will be caught out,” Speed said.

“If that happens, he will face a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct and his team mates will also suffer because it is extremely unlikely that the tournament Technical Committee would allow a replacement if a player is banned as a result of such a charge.

Speed, in Cape Town for the ICC Board meeting today and tomorrow, said he believed cricket could be proud of the fact that since the ICC began drug-testing in 2002 no player had ever tested positive for a banned substance at one of its events.

Warm-up matches for the ICC Cricket World Cup begin on Monday with the opening ceremony being held in Trelawny, Jamaica six days later.

The opening match of the tournament will take place between hosts West Indies and Pakistan at Sabina Park, Jamaica on March 13.

The final will be held at the Kensington Oval, Barbados, on April 28.