Abhishek Gupta Punjab BCCI anti-doping Terbutaline
@ Getty Images (representational photo)

Punjab cricketer Abhishek Gupta has been suspended for doping violation, as per a BCCI press release. Gupta had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups. Gupta had provided a urine sample as part of BCCI’s anti-doping testing program during a domestic T20 competition on January 15 in New Delhi. His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline, a specified substance prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances.

On April 17, Gupta was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Gupta 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.

BCCI is satisfied with Gupta’s explanation that he had taken Terbutaline inadvertently 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, BCCI has accepted Gupta’s explanation of the cause of his ADRV, and on that basis has agreed that a period of ineligibility of eight months should apply, together with disqualification of certain results.

Under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.3, Gupta is entitled to full credit against that period of ineligibility for the provisional suspension that he has been serving since April 18. In addition, because Gupta promptly admitted his ADRV upon being confronted with it by BCCI, there is discretion under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.2 to back-date the start of the period of Ineligibility to the date of sample collection (January 15). The eight-month period of Ineligibility will therefore be deemed to have started to run on January 15, so that it will end at midnight on September 14.

BCCI has a zero-tolerance approach towards doping in cricket. All cricketers are personally responsible for ensuring that anything they eat, drink or put in their body does not give rise to an ADRV under BCCI Anti-Doping Code. BCCI provides a dedicated 24X7 Anti-Doping Helpline where the cricketers and cricket support personnel can contact for any drug queries.