Melbourne: Australian players have agreed to provide hair samples to let their cricket board find if any of them uses banned drugs.
Australian Cricketers' Association and Cricket Australia have reached an agreement on this. Hair testing is a parctice used in highly popular AFL to catch drug cheats.
"We have agreed to trial hair testing for a 12-month period and will review it before we make any decisions for the future," ACA Chief Paul Marsh was quoted as saying by Daily Telegraph.
"I have talked to the Australian team and we are doing this in conjunction with CA; we have been talking about hair testing for a while," Marsh added.
Australian Twenty20 captain George Bailey has backed the move. "I have no issue with it in terms of keeping the sport clean. I don't think cricket has a massive issue though. We will wait and see how it pans out," he said.
Drug detection using hair follicles is superior as it can trace use of illicit substance back to three months compared with a maximum of five days for saliva or urine samples.
"Cricket is a different sport to many in that our players are travelling all over the world for Australia, county cricket or the Indian Premier League. The ability to detect for illicit drugs in a sample can be gone very quickly.
"It is an issue we don't want to sit back and be reactive on. We are trying to be part of the solution. We think hair testing will help us better identify if there are problems out there," Marsh said.
CA high performance manager Pat Howard also defended the move.
"It is not that we are trying to be Inspector Clouseau; it is a welfare issue to support people. We have to take steps to ensure a duty of care. We are on the same page as the ACA and I think it is a really good result."