In a surprising development, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has suspended the hard-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan after he was tested positive for a banned substance Terbutaline during the Ranji Trophy tournament last year. Pathan was handed a five-month retrospective suspension for failing the dope test, a sanction which will end on January 14, after the BCCI accepted that the violation was inadvertent.
"Mr Yusuf Pathan has been suspended for a doping violation. Mr Pathan had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups," the BCCI said in a statement.
The 35-year-old Pathan had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI's anti-doping testing program during a domestic T20 competition on March 16 last year.
"His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In and Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances," the BCCI stated.
The all-rounder, who has played 57 ODIs and 22 T20 Internationals for India, 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".
"Mr Pathan responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV and asserting that it was caused by his ingestion of a medication containing Terbutaline that had been mistakenly given to him instead of the medication prescribed for him, which did not contain any prohibited substance," the BCCI explained.
The BCCI said it is "satisfied" with Pathan's explanation that was using the medication to "treat an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug".
"Having considered all of the evidence and taken expert external advice, the BCCI has accepted Mr Pathan's explanation of the cause of his ADRV, and on that basis has agreed that a period of ineligibility of five months should apply, together with the disqualification of certain results," the BCCI stated.
The BCCI said Pathan had been provisionally suspended on October 28 last year and the Board has now decided to back- date the period of his final suspension from August 15.
"...there is discretion under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.2 to back-date the start date of the period of ineligibility still further on account of Mr Pathan's prompt admission of his ADRV upon being confronted with it by the BCCI, and under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.1 on account of the delays in the results management in this case that are not attributable to Mr Pathan.
"In all of the circumstances, the five-month period of ineligibility will be deemed to have started to run on 15 August 2017 and end at midnight on 14 January 2018," the Board stated.
Earlier, the cricket board has asked the state association of Baroda to not to include the discarded Indian cricketer in any of the domestic tournaments after he was found guilty. Pathan played only one Ranji Trophy game for Baroda in the recently-concluded season against Andhra Pradesh in October. He scored four runs and went wicket-less in that match. According to a source close to Pathan, the all-rounder took a medicine after he was feeling unwell.
The development comes amid the BCCI's stoic opposition to allowing the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to test cricketers. The Board has refused to sign up with NADA despite repeated requests by the agency.
(With PTI Inputs)