Anti-doping tribunal’s verdict on Russell expected on January 31

The anti-doping tribunal hearing West Indies allrounder Andre Russell’s case is set to deliver its verdict on January 31. The independent tribunal is looking into whether he breached the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) code by being negligent about filing his whereabouts three times between January and July 2015. If found guilty, Russell faces the danger of being banned for two years. According to the WADA code, if an athlete misses three tests in a 12-month period, it amounts to a failed dope test.

The charge was pressed by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) last March. JADCO said Russell had been negligent about filing his whereabouts despite several reminders over phone, email and through written letters. Still Russell failed to file his whereabouts on January 1, July 1 and July 25, 2015.

In his defence, Russell told the tribunal that he had not been properly trained to file the whereabouts. And considering he was busy fulfilling various cricket commitments he had authorised his agent and travel agent to file his whereabouts on his behalf.

The three-member tribunal comprising Hugh Faulkner, Dr Marjorie Vassell and Dixeth Palmer, a former Jamaica cricketer, was due to deliver the verdict in December. But no reasons were offered by the tribunal in public behind the delay.

The delayed verdict has kept not just Russell, but also various T20 franchises waiting in anticipation. Although not contracted with the West Indies Cricket Board, Russell is one the most valuable players in the various Twenty20 domestic leagues across the world. Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL), Sydney Thunder (Big Bash League), Islamabad United (PSL), Nottinghamshire Outlaws (NatWest T20 Blast) and Jamaica Tallawahs (Caribbean Premier League) are some of the teams he has represented, and he has been the most valuable player for more than one team and tournament.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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