Dubai: Coaches at some of the UAE’s leading cricket academies have a word of advice for the budding youngsters — be on guard from becoming another Prithvi Shaw.
The massively talented Indian opening batsman received an eight-month ban for doping violations, from the Indian cricket board, after he was found to have inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can commonly be found in cough syrups.
Though cricketers are given strict instructions to be careful about the contents in a medicine that should be avoided, quite a few of them have fallen victims of doping violation by taking medicines without checking its ingredients. Shaw, who should have been all the more is aware of the norms being an international cricketer, has been careless.
In January 2018, Indian all-rounder Yusuf Pathan also got banned for five months for doping violation. Along with Shaw, two other domestic cricketers too were handed bans for have violated the doping code.
Speaking to Gulf News, Gopal Jasapara, head coach of the G Force Cricket Academy who had also been the manager of the UAE Under-19 World Cup team in 2014, said: “Shaw is a rising star of Indian cricket but it is unfortunate that sometimes players are taking the doping guidelines for granted. Everyone knows that doping tests are conducted and hence all players need to be aware of what they consume.”
Jasapara stressed on the importance of raising awareness of these violations among budding players.
“We make sure that players are told how to follow a disciplined and healthy lifestyle. The problem with Shaw is that early fame has hit him and he should have guarded against such a careless approach.”
Sudhakar Shetty, the head coach of the Maxtalents Cricket Academy, says they also brief youngsters on the care that needs to be taken against such slip-ups.
“We brief them on good health, nutrition and on medical advice. Whenever an injury happens, we inform the player that medication should be taken specific to that treatment from a qualified professional. A player of Shaw’s stature should not have allowed himself to be treated by a local General Practitioner. One should not take things for granted — especially being a cricketer who earns in millions. I personally feel it is important to provide education on this subject to all club players, coaches and even parents of youngsters should be aware of what their children are consuming.”
Presley Polonowitta, the head coach of the Desert Cubs Cricket Academy, conducts classroom sessions on this topic during camps and tours.
“It is important for youngsters breaking into international cricket to understand the repercussions of not following certain norms. It is also important to be disciplined in following the guidelines. I am sure the BCCI would have conducted various classes on this topic. Like Shaw, to admit ignorance is no excuse. Everyone should now understand that it is not good to face a ban so early in career. Such bans not only tarnish their names but also will have negative impact on their career.”
Jasapara also pointed out that players’ managers too should play a role in protecting the players. “Managers of players should not be focusing only their player’s commercial deals but also ensure that his player follow guidelines and is having a proper lifestyle.”
This 19-year-old, who became the youngest Indian to crack a century on debut against West Indies in October 2018, suffered an injury during the tour of Australia last year. He, however, played a key role in Delhi Capitals’ impressive show in the last edition of Indian Premier League.