Perth terminate Evans deal after positive dope test

The Perth Scorchers have terminated their contract with top draft pick Laurie Evans following his positive result on an anti-doping test, and are now scrambling to secure a replacement player ahead of the season that begins in 21 days’ time.

Evans, who was player of the match for Perth in last summer’s KFC BBL final win against the Sydney Sixers, has denied taking a banned substance in revealing he tested positive after a routine anti-doping test while playing for the Manchester Originals during the Hundred competition in August.

In the same month, he was Perth’s first-choice for the inaugural BBL Draft, using their retention pick to hold onto the 35-year-old after he was selected by the Sydney Sixers.

“The club is disappointed to learn of Evans’ positive anti-doping test result relating to a sample provided in August 2022,” the Scorchers said in a statement.

“Due to the circumstances the Scorchers, and Laurie and his management have decided to mutually terminate his contract for the 2022-23 KFC Big Bash League season.

“The club will explore its options to source a replacement player for the tournament.”

Perth sensationally passed in the platinum round of the BBL draft to target Evans with their first pick at the gold stage. They still have England internationals Phil Salt and Tymal Mills on their books after they were selected in the silver and bronze rounds, respectively.

Perth’s first match of BBL|12 is a grand final rematch with the Sixers on December 17 at Optus Stadium.

Evans, who faces up to a four-year ban, has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

“I was shocked to be told that an anti-doping sample I provided in August 2022 tested positive for trace amounts of a banned substance,” Evans said in a statement released via the Professional Cricketers’ Association, the players’ union for English cricketers.

“I believe passionately in clean sport and I have never taken any banned substances.

“I do not know what caused the positive test but my team and I are investigating how this could have happened and I am doing everything possible to find out.

“Due to the confidentiality of the process, I cannot say any more at this stage but I would like to thank my family for supporting me at this very distressing time.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board is yet to make a statement, but the organisation’s anti-doping code suggests a hard line on positive tests, noting that “it is each cricketer’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his/her body. A cricketer is responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found to be present in his/her sample”.

A further explanatory note in the code adds: “For the avoidance of doubt…lack of intent, fault, negligence or knowledge shall not be a defence”.

The ECB has the power to provisionally suspend a player while it investigates the positive result, and the code specifies a maximum ban of four years for the presence of banned substances, unless the cricketer can establish that the anti-doping violation was not intentional, in which case the ban is two years.

There is provision in the code for a reduction on the ban based on ‘no significant fault or negligence’ which does allow for a minimum punishment of a reprimand only “depending on the cricketer’s degree of fault”.

Evans key knock for Scorchers in BBL|11 final

Evans, who has played T20s in seven countries in the past five years, played 15 matches for the Scorchers last season scoring 361 runs at a strike rate of 144.40.

He top-scored with an unbeaten 76no off 41 balls as Scorchers beat the Sydney Sixers in the final.

Evans had nominated an availability for the entire BBL|12 tournament, which was a key factor in both the Sixers and Scorchers targeting him at the draft.

Surrey, Evans’ home county, acknowledged the result of the test in a separate statement.

“Surrey CCC have been made aware that Laurie Evans has returned a positive anti-doping test result, relating to a sample provided in August this year. We have been in discussion with Laurie and his representatives and understand he intends to investigate this result.

“We will make no further comment until the process has concluded.”

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