The Pradeep Sangwan issue and some uncomfortable questions

By now, after reading yesterday’s newspaper most of us with any interest in Indian cricket would have known that Pradeep Sangwan, who plays for Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders, has failed a dope test. People who find this surprising can expect to be in for more shock with the reaction of the officials of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). For them the news has not come out of the blue. Instead, if media reports are to be believed, they had been in the know for several days before the news was brought out in national media.


The DDCA officials have also revealed that they have been instructed by the higher authorities to desist from including the seamer in any Delhi team till the whole issue is properly sorted out. The 22 year old cricketer, who was in the 2008 Under 19 World Cup winning team captained by Virat Kohli, is presently in England in order to have a surgery on his injured shoulder. His A sample has supposedly shown remains of banned substances but the true nature or, let’s say, the extent of his doping can be gauged from the results of the B sample that is yet to come out. An interesting thing in this whole scenario is that all the costs of Sangwan’s surgery are being borne by the DDCA. This amounts to almost INR 10 lakhs and includes expenses like travel and stay at the hospital in addition to surgery related costs.


When the news of Sangwan failing the random doping test, conducted during the recently concluded season of IPL, reached the media the premises of the Kotla were swarmed by journalists eager to get a good quote but they were unable to come away with anything worthwhile as no one in DDCA deemed it necessary to give their views regarding the whole affair.


Chetan Chauhan, the former Indian opener and present senior vice-president of the association, gave the only official statement stating an unflinching support for the young cricketer. He stated that Sangwan was suffering from shoulder pain and might have taken some medicine thereby that contained the banned substance and led to the whole situation.


The KKR, on its part, has put a completely different spin on the whole issue saying that they believe that the seamer was apparently on some medication to bring down his weight. This duplicity is really a matter of concern as it puts serious aspersions on Saangwan’s true motive in the whole incident. There are a few interesting questions that are coming up in view of the whole situation. The first one is that BCCI professes a zero tolerance policy for any dope related offence, so why are they now trying to hide the whole thing?


The second question here is what was the KKR medical staff doing when one of the players was taking banned substances whatever the reason? It is understandable that the officials are unable to monitor a player for 24 hours a day but why did the doctors not forbid him from taking a medicine that had the banned substance – were they not accessible or did Sangwan simply did not feel the need to consult the doctors? Did Sangwan have a list of forbidden substances and the medicines that have them, and did he adhere to it?


Incidentally Sangwan is not the first person to have been implicated in a doping related offence during the IPL. After the 2012 season Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell were discovered at a rave party in Mumbai and their test results were also positive, implicating their consumption of banned substances. Incidentally they did not play any significant part in the 2013 IPL. The whole thing is yet to assume a dimension as match fixing but with the amount of money and fame involved who knows what is happening and what will happen a few years down the line?


I believe both DDCA and BCCI will now be waiting with baited breath over the report of Sangwan’s B sample – after all a negative report can save both his and the two association’s reputation and a positive report will not only endanger Sangwan’s career but also put serious doubts on the credibility of the way the gentleman’s game is conducted in the country.