Australian cricketers will be subjected to an Australian Football League-style hair sampling to close the net around illicit substance use.
According to Fox Sports,the Australian Cricketers Association and Cricket Australia have agreed on a 12-month trial of hair testing. The procedure will begin once new state and national contracts become effective from July 1.
Players Association boss Paul Marsh confirmed that he has talked to the Australian cricketers.
We have agreed to trial hair testing for a 12-month period and will review it before we make any decisions for the future. I have talked to the Australian team and we are doing this in conjunction with CA – we have been talking about hair testing for a while, Marsh said.
Drug detection using hair follicles is superior as it can trace use of illicit substance back to three months compared to a maximum of five days for saliva or urine samples.
Cricket is a different sport to many in that our players are travelling all over the world for Australia,county cricket or the Indian Premier League. The ability to detect for illicit drugs in a sample can be gone very quickly. It is an issue we don’t want to sit back and be reactive on. We think hair testing will help us better identify if there are problems out there, Marsh added.
The AFL implemented hair follicle testing four years ago at the height of concern over West Coast’s party culture. About 1.2 per cent of the 700 AFL players are understood to return positive tests for illicit substances.
Cricket doesn’t declare its numbers,but CA high-performance manager Pat Howard said drug abuse should be considered a societal issue with hair testing a medical model endorsed to improve player welfare.