ICC suspends Sri Lanka batsman Tharanga for three months

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Sri Lanka's opening batsman Upul Tharanga was on Friday found guilty of breaching International Cricket Council (ICC) Anti-Doping Code and was suspended from all forms of the game for a period of three months.

The 26-year-old Tharanga provided an urine sample as part of the ICC's random in-competition testing programme after the conclusion of the World Cup semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, held in Colombo, March 29.

His 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.

These 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 (acting as chairman), Anik Sax and Peter Sever heard the case via videoconference and Friday made its determination after considering detailed written and oral legal submissions as well as 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.

It also found that Tharanga had no intention to enhance his sporting performance or to mask the use of another performance enhancing substance, but that he had failed to satisfy the high levels of personal responsibility implicit upon him as an international cricketer subject to anti-doping rules.

Tharanga 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 under the ICC Code 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 May 9 and expiring at midnight Aug 8, therefore leaving him eligible to return to cricket August 9.

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