Tragedy demands update of testing policy

Andy Lloyd

WHILE I’m sure we’d all like to think that Tom Maynard’s apparent drug use is an isolated case in cricket, the reality is that it probably isn’t.

In cold terms, there are 18 counties, each with 25 players, so that’s around 400 professional players in this country. Many of them are paid very well.

I’m sure there will be others who have dabbled – it’s what a lot of young people do – but in the spotlight of elite level sport you just can’t do that. The privileged status these guys enjoy comes with a responsibility to conduct themselves in the right manner, and both performance enhancing drugs and illegal recreational substances have to be stamped on with the utmost severity.

Unfortunately this issue has only come to light in tragic circumstances – Tom was a good lad and fine cricketer – but it offers the game an ideal chance to implement a much-needed update of its policy.

It appears to me that cricket, and I suspect some other sports, have not moved with the times. The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) will work very hard at putting together a more robust system. But in the end I believe it may be down to the counties themselves to take it upon themselves, under the guidance of the England and Wales Cricket Board and PCA, to submit drug tests once a month.

Maynard’s case shows something has to be done. Teams and players have a duty to the game to govern themselves in this respect, and not rely on being caught by others.

Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer who has also been chairman and captain of Warwickshire.