Duleep Trophy 2018: Selectors avoid gaffe by unpicking dope-tainted cricketer

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THE NATIONAL selection committee avoided a major gaffe on Monday by replacing Abhishek Gupta, who they’d initially picked despite him serving a dope-related ban, with Akshay Wadkar in the India Red team for the Duleep Trophy. The 27-year-old Punjab wicket-keeper is presently serving a back-dated eight-month ban for a doping violation. Incidentally, the BCCI had sent a press release announcing Gupta’s retrospective suspension as recently as June 7.

The squads for the Duleep Trophy were announced on Monday afternoon. But as eyebrows continued to be remain raised over Gupta’s inclusion, MSK Prasad & Co, who had met in Kolkata, ensured a timely correction adding Vidarbha wicket-keeper Wadkar to the India Red squad. Sources in the BCCI informed that the selection committee was not handed a list of the players who might be banned before they sat down to pick the squads. The Indian board’s general manager cricket operations, Saba Karim, is currently on a holiday in the UK. And it is learned that those within the board in-charge of domestic cricket matters failed to provide Prasad & Co with details regarding Gupta’s ban.

“It was brought to notice by the BCCI Anti-Doping team that Mr. Abhishek Gupta who was initially added in the India Red squad is serving an 8-month ban for a doping violation. His ban is set to end on the 14th of September, 2018,” is how the BCCI press release that arrived late on Monday night explained the confusion over Gupta’s inclusion. The Duleep Trophy is scheduled to start on August 17 and will conclude on September 7. a week before the Punjab keeper’s ban is lifted.

According to the release on June 7, Gupta had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI’s anti-doping testing program during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on January 15 in New Delhi. “His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances,” it further read. On April 17, Gupta was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Gupta is learned to have responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV but asserting that it was inadvertent, being caused by his ingestion of medication containing Terbutaline that had been prescribed for him by his doctor. Later, BCCI was satisfied with Gupta’s explanation and handed him the back-dated eight-month ban. “The eight-month period of ineligibility will, therefore, be deemed to have started to run on 15th January 2018, so that it will end at midnight on 14th September 2018,” is how the release had put it.

Gupta’s loss will be Wadkar’s gain and it’s also a deserved opportunity in an away for the Vidarbha glovesmen, considering his impressive showing in his team’s maiden Ranji Trophy win earlier this year. India A & B players to undergo yo-yo test

Meanwhile, the selection committee also announced the India A and B squads, which will take part in the quadrangular series featuring South Africa A and Australia A. The selected players will be asked to undergo yo-yo tests in the coming days. Wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson has been included in India A squad. Samson had been dropped for India A tour of England as he failed the yo-yo test last month. It is learned that he will be put through the yo-yo test once again.

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