Tharanga to face ICC doping panel


Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga will appear at an International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing later this week to answer doping charges, officials said Monday. Tharanga tested positive for a banned drug after Sri Lanka’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in March, and will face the panel at the ICC headquarters in Dubai on Friday. Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said Tharanga’s case was fixed for June 24 and local media reported that the 26-year-old had already hired a lawyer to defend him at the hearing. The batsman has claimed he was given a steroid by a high-profile Colombo-based faith healer, who also treats other international players, for an asthma-related problem. Ranatunga meanwhile said the Sri Lankan authorities would continue to educate players on medications that are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). “All the national team players have the WADA handbook, which we expect players to follow,” Ranatunga said. Under ICC rules, Tharanga can seek a test of his “B” sample. There was no immediate comment from Tharanga, who is not part of the Sri Lankan side currently on tour in England. Tharanga is the latest Sri Lankan sportsman to fail a drug test. Last week, three Sri Lankan national rugby players admitted taking banned steroids during the HSBC Asian Five Nations tournament in Colombo in May. Also in May, Sri Lankan boxer Manju Wanniarachchi was stripped of his Commonwealth Games gold medal after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.