ECB vows drugs crackdown
London - The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) pledged to take all "reasonable steps" to stop players using recreational drugs following an inquest into the death of one the game's rising stars on Tuesday.
Surrey batsman Tom Maynard, tipped as a future England international, was electrocuted on a railway line and struck by a train as he attempted to flee police while on drink and drugs.
Before he died in June last year, Maynard, the 23-year-old son of former Glamorgan and England batsman Matthew Maynard, had been stopped by police nearby after his black Mercedes was seen driving erratically but he then fled the vehicle, leaving the keys in the ignition.
A post-mortem examination revealed alcohol levels in his body nearly four times above the legal driving limit and that he had taken cocaine and ecstasy in the form of MDMA after a night out.
Surrey have since introduced an anti-drugs policy which all players and management must abide by.
And following a verdict of accidental death reached Tuesday by the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court, the ECB and Surrey issued a joint statement announcing plans to test for recreational drugs.
"In the light of today's (Tuesday's) verdict, ECB and Surrey CCC would like to reiterate that this incident was a terrible human tragedy and again extend our condolences to the Maynard family and to Tom Maynard's many friends and colleagues within the professional game.
"While the ECB accepts that recreational drug use is a part of modern society, we do not condone it and will take all reasonable steps to prevent its use within the game.
"We also believe we have a responsibility to educate all our players and are committed to supporting any player who needs help in this area."
The statement added: "The ECB board has recently agreed to develop an out-of-competition testing programme to encompass recreational drugs, in co-operation with the PCA (Professional Cricketers' Association).
"These measures will supplement ECB's existing anti-doping programme which involves in and out of competition testing through UK Anti-Doping in compliance with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code and financial support which ECB provides to PCA for player education and support programmes.
"The ECB's testing programme applies to all registered county players and up to 200 tests are carried out on average each year.
"This approximates to around 35-40 percent of the overall number of registered professional players.
"Last year one player (Abdur Rehman of Somerset) tested positive for cannabis following an in-competition test.
"England players are tested in addition as part of the ICC's (International Cricket Council's) own anti-doping programme for all international cricketers which is also WADA compliant.
"To date, no England player has tested positive under these programmes."