How BCCI figured Prithvi Shaw’s suspension

The BCCI has suspended Test opener Prithvi Shaw for taking a prohibited substance Terbutaline under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. The suspension is backdated in the day of the collection of the urine sample, from February 22 this year, and will expire on November 15. Let’s take a look at how the BCCI arrived at the sanction and what are the various factors it took into account.

How BCCI figured Prithvi Shaw's suspension

How did it start?

On February 22 this season, Shaw gave his urine sample as part of the BCCI’s anti-doping principles (ADR) on the day of Mumbai’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match against Punjab in Indore. The sample was collected by IDTM, an independent service provider, contracted from the BCCI. The sample was then sent to the WADA-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory at New Delhi, where Terbutaline was discovered.

Following an independent review board confirmed the finding, the BCCI provisionally suspended Shaw on July 16. According to closing report prepared by Dr Abhijit Salvi, BCCI’s anti-doping supervisor, two days later Shaw”waived his right” to possess his B sample tested and approved the charge.

How was the banned material found in the urine sample?

In his response to BCCI, Shaw said he’d obtained an”over-the-counter cough syrup” which contained Terbutaline. Shaw also clarified what led to him taking the cough syrup. Having returned home in Australia because of an ankle injury he sustained from the warm-up game, Shaw was anxious to get back on the field.

However, once he attained Indore, Shaw suffered from”frequent cold and cough”. In accordance with Salvi’s report, Shaw”consulted” his dad who”suggested that he visit a pharmacy to get a remedy for his symptoms.” The pharmacist recommended that the cough syrup, one that he said”would offer immediate relief.”

In his submission to BCCI, Shaw stated he didn’t”remember” the name of this cough syrup and didn’t maintain the jar or the packaging. He used the medication for”couple of days” before he played with Mumbai’s first match of the championship on February 21, the day before the sample was taken by IDTM. In the form that has been attached to the sample, Shaw wrote that he had shot”antibiotics” in the slot intended for when he had taken any drugs in the previous week.

Can the BCCI take Shaw’s explanation?

The BCCI accepted Shaw’s justification that”it did not dawn upon him” that the cough syrup could contain a banned substance. “Regardless of what Mr Shaw ought to happen to be thinking in respect of his use of medication, the BCCI takes his assertion that he took the cough syrup merely to alleviate his symptoms, rather than with the goal to improve (or together with the effect of enhancing) his sports performance,” Salvi said in his report.

How BCCI figured Prithvi Shaw's suspension

What were the implications of using a banned substance?

As per WADA principles, Terbutaline is categorized as a”specified substance” and conveys a two-year ban as a”starting point”. But under the WADA principles, if it may be demonstrated that Shaw hadn’t been”negligent” around and for”no significant fault” of his, swallowed a medication that contained a banned substance, the ban may be reduced to a sliding scale of 24 to fourteen months.

How did BCCI decide the length of the ban?

Based on Salvi, he needed to figure that of the three categories of”error” he can classify Shaw’s”accidental” actions: mild (variety of 0-8 months), ordinary (8-16 months) and considerable (16-24 weeks ). This might be arrived after Salvi had recognized why and to what extent Shaw”departed from duty” of exercising”extreme caution” until he used the cough syrup.

Prima facie Salvi mentioned his report which Shaw failed to fulfil the responsibility of making sure the cough syrup didn’t contain any prohibited substance. But, Salvi then pointed out that there were a few factors that surfaced Shaw. Firstly, the player did not take the material to”enhance” his performance and it had been used for”curative” reason just. He also did not indulge in self-medication and relied upon a medical professional’s (pharmacist’s) advice. Salvi also understood Shaw’s anxiety of getting his”career back on track” after the injury in Australia which might have prompted him to”miss” the obligation prior to taking an over-the-counter medicine.

Coupled with his youthful age, 19, his limited anti-doping schooling and too little experience, Salvi decided to classify Shaw beneath the normal category of fault and handed an eight-month suspension.

Why can it be backdated?

Underneath its anti-doping principles, the BCCI may utilise the”discretion” to adjust the sanction. Keeping in mind the fact that Shaw had not contested the fee at any point, the BCCI decided to backdate the ban from the date the urine sample was collected – February 22. However, the rules also dictate that Shaw needed to serve half of the period of the ban, which can be four weeks. The beginning date for that has been set to July 16, when he was provisionally suspended. Consequently, Shaw is eligible to return to activity from November 16 this season.

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