BCCI could have used Kumble's expertise

BCCI could have used Kumble's expertise

Code of contention: Former India captain is crickets sole representative on WADAs Athletes Panel

Anil Kumble

Former Indian captain Kumble is cricket’s sole representative on WADA’s prestigious Athlete’s Panel, and while the leg-spinner hasn’t yet had the opportunity to interact with his fellow sportspersons on that panel, he isn’t unaware of what his responsibilities are and what his role entails.

Post his retirement from international cricket last November, the Bangalorean was inducted into the WADA panel earlier this year, and will attend his first meeting of the Athlete’s Panel in Berlin on August 20 and 21, during the World Athletics Championships, as the WADA website confirms.

It is more than likely that a lack of complete understanding of the ‘whereabouts’ clause, which necessitates players on the International Registered Testing Pool to provide information about where they can be found for one specified hour between 6.00 am and 11.00 pm for a three-month period, is what has raised the hackles of Indian cricketing superstars such as Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Given that Kumble has been on both sides of the fence in recent times, he would have been the ideal man to brief the cricketers on the idea behind surprise out-of-competition testing, the reason for the introduction of the ‘whereabouts’ clause. That is not to say that India’s highest wicket-taker would necessarily have influenced his former team-mates to sign on the dotted line; instead, the players would then have been in a better position to make a call after having been properly and adequately informed about the necessity and the confidentiality of their ‘whereabouts’ information.

In his capacity as a representative of WADA’s Athlete’s Panel, Kumble’s responsibilities will extend beyond cricket, and it is possible that after the Berlin meeting, he will interact on an active basis with sportspersons of different hues within India.

Saying that, had the BCCI deemed it fit to ask him to share his understanding with the men he led less than one year back, it is likely that India’s cricketers may not have stood as isolated as they are now after having decided not to accept the WADA code as it exists now.