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ECB to step up drug testing after Maynard inquest

Tom Maynard. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Tom Maynard. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
8:32 AM

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.

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The ECB board recently agreed to develop an out-of-competition testing programme - to encompass recreational drugs - in co-operation with the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

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 yesterday 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, in the form of MDMA, 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 PCA.

“These measures will supplement ECB’s existing anti-doping programme which involves in- and out-of-competition testing through UK Anti-Doping.”

The statement added: “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 per cent 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.

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 very rare incidence of positive results suggests that cricket has no more of a problem in this regard than society as a whole.

“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.”

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