Cricket’s problems reflection of society’s, says Porter

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Players’ union chief Angus Porter was “shocked” at the extent of tragic Tom Maynard’s drug use, but does not believe it indicates a widespread problem within cricket.

A coroner revealed the Surrey batsman was high on cocaine and ecstasy, and had been a regular user, when he was killed on a train track last June.

The 23-year-old was also nearly four times over the drink-driving limit after a night out.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has voiced concerns there could be more players who use recreational drugs, but hopes this case will act as a deterrent.

Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, does not doubt Vaughan, but believes any problems are more reflective of wider society than anything specific to cricket.

Porter said: “We had an early warning of what the pathologist’s findings were, so in that sense it wasn’t a complete surprise, but we didn’t know any of the detail.

“I think we were all shocked at the level of drugs and alcohol that were found in Tom’s body. I think that has caused us to pause and think a bit.

“But while Tom’s case is shocking I don’t think it is evidence of a widespread problem.

“The levels shown in the inquest are ones which, had Tom been tested last summer, there is little doubt he would have failed a drugs test. As chance had it, he wasn’t selected for a test, which is a random process.

“I think we can be fairly confident he was unusual in terms of the extent of his apparent addiction to recreational drugs and reasonably confident there are not a lot of players out there who have got similar problems.

“We’re not complacent, but I would say the problems in cricket are reflective of the problems in society as a whole.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board, in conjunction with the PCA, intend to step up their drug-testing programme as a result.

At present no tests are carried out for recreational drugs out of competition – roughly defined as any day on which a game is not taking place – in line with World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.

Samples taken on out-of-competition days are therefore only screened for performance-enhancing substances.

This is likely to change and, as well as increasing the number of tests – an average of 200 tests are carried out each year – other methods are expected to be considered.