Feb 27 2013
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 has 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.
Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, believes any problems are more reflective of wider society than anything specific to cricket. Porter told Press Association Sport: "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."
He continued: "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, intends to step up its 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.
Maynard's former Surrey team-mate Mark Ramprakash, who retired last summer, also does not think drug use is a big problem in the sport. Ramprakash told Sky Sports News: "I'd be very surprised if it is, I must say.
"We have to ask questions, naturally, as to whether more could have been done regarding Tom's situation but I think the main thing is that his tragic passing is used in a positive way, to try to learn lessons from that and try to educate young cricketers and young people in general."