New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has slapped a three-month ban on Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga for failing to clear a dope test during the ODI World Cup couple of months ago.
As the suspension is backdated, it bars the Lankan opener from playing all forms of cricket till August 9.
The ICC decision came after Tharanga pleaded guilty, claiming he had ingested the banned substance in a herbal remedy.
Tharanga had provided a urine sample as part of ICC`s random in-competition testing programme after the conclusion of the Cricket World Cup semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Colombo on 29 March.
The 26-year-old`s sample was subsequently tested by a World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory and was found to contain metabolites of two glucocorticosteroids - Prednisone and Prednisolone.
"I apologise to the fans and followers of Sri Lanka cricket for inadvertently committing an offence. I hope my fellow sportsmen will learn from my experience and be more vigilant when taking medical treatment, so that their careers do not suffer in the way that mine has," Tharanga said in an ICC release.
Prednisone and Prednisolone are classified as `Specified Substances` under WADA`s Prohibited List and are prohibited in-competition `when administered by oral, intravenous intramuscular or rectal routes`.
An independent anti-doping tribunal, comprising Tim Kerr as chairman, Dr Anik Sax and Prof Peter Sever, heard the case via videoconference today and made its determination after considering detailed written and oral legal submissions and live witness evidence, including from Tharanga himself.
The tribunal accepted that Tharanga had ingested the `Specified Substances` when drinking a herbal remedy given to him to ease discomfort caused by a long-standing shoulder injury and that he had no intention to enhance his sporting performance or mask the use of another performance enhancing substance.
"We recognise that Upul has not been found guilty of deliberately cheating, but the ICC maintains its zero-tolerance approach towards doping for the benefit of all its stakeholders," said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
"Cases like this serve as a reminder to all players that they must take great care and personal responsibility at all times for the substances that they consume.”
"I am satisfied with the tribunal`s decision and pleased at the way the ICC has handled this case with both sensitivity and efficiency," he added.
Tharanga had pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage in the proceedings and, as mandated under the ICC Code, the tribunal disqualified the rankings points he earned from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
The tribunal also exercised its discretion to impose upon him a period of ineligibility of three months, which was back-dated, in accordance with the discretion afforded to the tribunal under the ICC Code, to commence on 9 May 2011 and expiring at midnight on 8 August 2011, therefore leaving him eligible to return to cricket and cricket related activities on 9 August 2011.