In a move that can leave the BCCI officials red-faced, the selectors have made a massive blunder by naming a banned player in one of the squads for the upcoming Duleep Trophy. The player is Punjab’s Abhishek Gupta.
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The wicketkeeper-batsman is currently serving an eight-month ban for doping violation. But despite that, he got a place in the India Red team.
In January, the BCCI had charged Gupta with committing a doping violation and provisionally suspended him. He was suspended for the ‘inadvertent ingestion’ of Terbutaline that is commonly found in cough syrups. The BCCI had collected a urine sample from the player as part of their anti-doping testing program during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Gupta had admitted to the violation. However, in his defence he had said said he took the substance inadvertently, as part of medication prescribed by his doctor to treat an upper-respiratory-tract infection, and not as a performance-enhancing drug.
The BCCI, on June 7, released a statement, confirming that Gupta was retrospectively suspended for eight months.
“The eight-month period of ineligibility will therefore be deemed to have started to run on 15th January 2018, so that it will end at midnight on 14th September 2018,” read the release.
The suspension, meanwhile, was back-dating to its start to January 15, 2018. Gupta’s suspension would have ended on September 14, 2018. However, two months prior to that the BCCI selectors goofed up by naming him in the India Red squad.
Meanwhile, the Duleep Trophy would get underway on August 17 and will conclude September 8.
The latest blunder comes on the heels of the BCCI making a complete mess of Test wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha’s rehabilitation. Saha was initially sidelined with a thumb injury which he had sustained in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He subsequently missed the final of the lucrative Twenty20 competition. He also didn’t feature in the historic one-off Test against Afghanistan. But he was expected to be fit in time for the upcoming Test series against England.
However, it later emerged that he is now suffering from a shoulder injury. Surprisingly, even chief selector MSK Prasad was not aware of it. While announcing the Test squad, he had said Saha could not make it to the squad because of the thumb injury. Saha will undergo operation on his shoulder in Manchester in the coming days.