Shaw tested positive for terbutaline during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament this February. Along with Shaw, two other domestic players - Akshay Dullarwar of Vidarbha and Divya Gajraj of Rajasthan - were also found to have violated the BCCI's anti-doping code. Dullarwar has been banned for eight months, while Gajraj has been suspended for six months.
Shaw is the second high-profile Indian cricketer after Yusuf Pathan, who was banned for five months by the BCCI in January 2018, to have been suspended on the grounds of a doping violation.
Like Shaw, Pathan, too, had "inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups". On that occasion, the BCCI had back-dated Pathan's suspension from 15 August, 2017.
Till now, the BCCI hires the services of IDTM, a private sample collection agency, to collect the samples of its cricketers, rather than the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
The 19-year-old made a century on his Test debut at Rajkot against West Indies in October last year, for which he was named as the Man of the Match.
Shaw smashed 70 off 53 balls and 33 not out in the second innings at Hyderabad in the second Test, to achieve a rare feat of being named as the Man of the Series in his debut Test series. He has played two Tests overall, in which he averages 118.50. However, a bad ankle injury ruled him out of the Test series in Australia in December last year.
Shaw out of Bangladesh and South Africa series
The prodigiously talented Shaw, who plays for Delhi Capitals in the IPL, made a century on his first-class debut for Mumbai in Rajkot in January 2017, and also a century on debut in the Duleep Trophy. In 2013, he had shot into limelight with a world record score of 546 for Rizvi Springfield in inter-school cricket.
Currently, he is in Mumbai, having just returned from the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, where he was undergoing rehabilitation for a hip injury. "He was suffering from high fever in Bangalore, so his father (Pankaj) called him back to Mumbai," a source close to Shaw told TOI on Tuesday.
"Shaw had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups," the BCCI said in a statement. "Terbutaline is found in 95% of cough syrups, and this is his first offence," said a Board official, while explaining why the punishment wasn't harsher. Shaw's period of suspension is eight months, starting from March 16 to November 15, which effectively rules him out of India's home series against Bangladesh and South Africa.
In a detailed statement on Tuesday, Shaw claimed that he 'inadvertently' took the cough syrup, after suffering from cough and cold, at the advice of his father, while playing in a domestic T20 tournament, and "didn't follow the protocol in being careful in consuming a basic over-the-counter cough syrup."
"I accept my fate with all sincerity. While I am still nursing an injury which I suffered during my last tournament, this news has really shaken me. I have to take this in my stride and hope it inspires others in our sports fraternity in India that we athletes need to be extremely careful in taking any medicine for the smallest of medical ailments."
"I thank BCCI for all the support & also my near & dear ones who have always stood by me. Cricket is my life & there is no bigger pride for me than playing for India & Mumbai and I will come out of this faster & stronger," said Shaw in his statement.
As per the BCCI, Shaw used the cough syrup, which contained terbutaline, for a couple of days before Mumbai's game against Sikkim in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, after suffering from a common cough and cold. The prohibitive substance was found in his urine sample in a drug test on February 21.
The BCCI said that Shaw was charged with violating BCCI's Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) article 2.1.
"On 16th July 2019, Shaw was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Shaw responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV but asserting that it was inadvertent, being caused by his ingestion of the over the counter cough syrup he had taken for his cough," the release stated.
Shaw explained that he had taken terbutaline inadvertently to treat a respiratory tract infection and not as a performance-enhancing drug. "Having considered all of the evidence and taken expert external advice, the BCCI has accepted Shaw's explanation of the cause of his ADRV, and on that basis, has agreed that a period of ineligibility of eight months should apply, together with disqualification of certain results," the BCCI ruled.
The BCCI's rules would allow Shaw to start training from September 15. He will be eligible for selection into the India/Mumbai team/any other domestic team from November 15.
What is Terbutaline?
Terbutaline is used as a fast-acting bronchodilator (often used as a short-term treatment for asthma) and as a tocolytic to delay premature labour. The inhaled form of terbutaline starts working within 15 minutes and can last up to 6 hours. Side effects include tachycardia, anxiety, nervousness, tremors, headache and hypotension.