PCA braced to learn drugs truth
Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Angus Porter will be "pleasantly surprised" if a new scheme to test players for recreational drug use finds county cricket is clean.
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Hair-testing has been introduced following the death of Surrey's Tom Maynard last year, and Porter confirmed all results would be kept private but was anticipating a high probability that some drug-taking would be unearthed.
"I'm remaining completely open-minded," said Porter.
"But I would be pleasantly surprised if we had clean outcomes across the board - cricketers reflect society so any positive results would not be widespread."
With every individual - including England's centrally-contracted players - being tested under the pilot scheme, Porter is hoping plenty of useful information can be gleaned during the initial period.
"We agreed with the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] some months ago that it was sensible to introduce more testing but to keep it separate from anti-doping tests," he added.
"We began a pilot test this week and all players registered to play first-class cricket will be tested and it will help us evaluate and understand what any follow-up programme would consist of.
"It also gives us the chance to work with three different testing agencies, see how they do things differently, and allow us to determine which of those we can move forward with and iron out any of the teething issues when the programme begins in earnest."
Maynard, who had been widely tipped as a future England international, was found dead near Wimbledon Park station on the London Underground District line shortly after 5am on Monday June 18 last year.
An inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court in February returned a verdict of accidental death, having heard he was struck by a train as he attempted to flee police after driving while on a cocktail of drink and drugs.
The 23-year-old suffered multiple injuries caused by the impact of the train and from touching a live electric railway line.
A post-mortem examination showed he was nearly four times the legal limit to drive and had also taken cocaine and ecstasy in the form of MDMA after a night out with two team-mates. Tests on hair samples indicated Maynard may have been a daily user of drugs in the three and a half months before his death.