sport

ECB addresses drugs issue

The ECB have pledged to take all "reasonable steps" to stop cricketers using recreational drugs in the aftermath of the Tom Maynard inquest.

Surrey batsman Maynard was electrocuted on a railway line and then struck by a train as he attempted to flee police after driving on a cocktail of drink and drugs last June.

Tuesday's inquest in London heard that a post-mortem examination showed Surrey batsman Maynard was nearly four times the legal limit to drive.

He had also taken cocaine and ecstasy in the form of MDMA after a night out with his two flatmates in Wandsworth, south London last June.

Surrey have already introduced team-wide anti-drug policy which all players and management are required to abide by.

The England and Wales Cricket Board and Surrey issued a joint statement following the accidental death verdict reached by the inquest at Westminster Coroners' Court.

It read: "In the light of today's verdict, ECB and Surrey CCC would like to reiterate that this incident was a terrible human tragedy and again extend our condolences to the Maynard family and to Tom Maynard's many friends and colleagues within the professional game.

"While the ECB accepts that recreational drug use is a part of modern society, we do not condone it and will take all reasonable steps to prevent its use within the game.

"We also believe we have a responsibility to educate all our players and are committed to supporting any player who needs help in this area.

"Surrey CCC began its own investigations into conduct at the end of last season and introduced a team-wide anti-drug policy which all players and management are required to abide by.

"Working in partnership with ECB and PCA further recommendations have been initiated."

The ECB and Surrey statement outlined details of how testing was being stepped up.

It stated: "The ECB board has recently agreed to develop an out-of-competition testing programme to encompass recreational drugs, in co-operation with the PCA.

"These measures will supplement ECB's existing anti-doping programme which involves in and out of competition testing through UK Anti-Doping in compliance with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code and financial support which ECB provides to PCA for player education and support programmes.

"The ECB's testing programme applies to all registered county players and up to 200 tests are carried out on average each year.

"This approximates to around 35-40% of the overall number of registered professional players.

"Last year one player (Abdur Rehman of Somerset) tested positive for cannabis following an in-competition test.

"England players are tested in addition as part of the ICC's own anti-doping programme for all international cricketers which are also WADA compliant.

"To date, no England player has tested positive under these programmes."

The Maynard family had earlier issued a statement via the Professional Cricketers' Association which read: "The results of the inquest do not define our son.

"The fact that so very many people thought the world of him is what defines him as a person.

"The only people who would judge Tom on the findings of the inquest are people who didn't know him.

"He made choices that night that tragically cost him his life but his devastated family and friends will love and miss him unconditionally, always.

"He was a very special person and his death leaves a huge hole in all our lives."

The PCA backs the ECB's examination of the feasibility of testing players to see whether or not they have taken recreational drugs.

It reads "The PCA's 'Mind Matters' tutorials, launched in 2012, educate players on issues ranging from alcohol and drugs to anxiety and depression.

"These issues represent a major focus for the association and its Personal Development and Welfare team in the coming year.

"Cricket has a comprehensive anti-doping programme, which has been in place for a number of years.

"Whilst the focus of this programme is primarily on performance-enhancing drugs, it does include in-competition testing for recreational drugs.

"The very rare incidence of positive results suggests that cricket has no more of a problem in this regard than society as a whole.

"The PCA is supporting the ECB in its examination of the feasibility of out-of-competition testing for recreational drugs.

"It confirms its support for such an initiative as long as it is linked to appropriate arrangements for treatment and rehabilitation in the event of a positive test."

PCA chief executive Angus Porter said: "We, along with Surrey CCC, Glamorgan CCC and the ECB have supported everyone impacted both directly and indirectly by Tom's death, collectively with bereavement counselling, and individually where necessary.

"As a cricketing family, we shall continue to provide full support wherever it is needed.

"Amongst the headlines which will inevitably be generated by the inquest findings, consideration must now be given to the Maynard family who are experiencing a further wave of tragedy.

"We must all now move forward and remember Tom as a tremendously talented young man who had so much to look forward to. We must focus on building a positive legacy in his memory."