The closer cricket gets to the Olympics, the more vigilance appears required to catch drug cheats.

Until recently the sport had not been affected by performance-enhancing drugs to any great extent. Alcohol and marijuana had been more prevalent; intoxicants which would make you struggle to tell the difference between a bouncer and a Bosie.

A few exceptions existed, such as Shane Warne copping a year-long ban in 2003 after testing positive to a diuretic his Mum offered as a way to help his weight loss.

Shane Warne. Photo / NZPA
Shane Warne. Photo / NZPA

That is changing. Cricket has not reached weightlifting or athletics status but, whether by coincidence or design, more players appear to be getting banned for prohibited substance use under the World Anti-Doping Agency code.


Britain's Telegraph ran a story last week citing the prevalence of more T20, and the riches it can bring, as a core reason for the spate.

Author Tim Wigmore pointed to three bans within the last year. The first was on the West Indies' Andre Russell, who failed to confirm his "whereabouts" with doping officials three times in a year. The second was Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad who tested positive for clenbuterol in an out-of-competition test. The third was India's Yusuf Pathan's failed drugs test during a domestic T20 competition when his urine sample was found to contain terbutaline, a source of increased strength and power.

However, the trio went on playing and getting paid for months before the bans came into effect, often with generous backdating.

Add two New Zealand club cricket cases to the pot.

Chris Ware received a two-year ban after he was caught purchasing illegal steroids off defunct website

Similarly, Adam King was suspended from playing for two years for possession and use of two banned anabolic steroids in 2014 and two hormones in 2015 over a 10-month period.

Tony Irish, the head of international cricket players' association FICA, told the Telegraph that T20 was the easiest target.

"The power-based skill set makes it a sport that fits within a similar profile to baseball."


In batting that correlates to powering the ball to the boundary; in bowling a strength boost could result in more speed and better recovery.

Players might also play in more T20 leagues as a result, and potentially extend their careers. In a touch of irony, given the match-fixing controversies of recent years, Wigmore pointed out "cheating to win could now bring greater rewards than cheating to lose".

The situation is further complicated by cricket's desire to enter the Olympics.

The BCCI, Indian cricket's governing body, refuses to allow their anti-doping agency (NADA) to conduct tests on behalf of WADA. They do it themselves, a practice likely to halt any potential entry into the Olympics until at least 2028.

Such delays are frustrating the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee which has urged Indian authorities to get behind the push for the Olympics.

"We would like to urge the BCCI to have a look at it again and support the main body of boards that would like to get into the Olympics as soon as possible," chairman Mike Gatting told AAP.

"It seems strange that everyone else seems happy to get in there because it's going to be so good for the game.

"Free-to-air TV all over the world. It's only once every four years. It's not going to be a scheduling matter. They seem reticent to try and get involved."