Test opener Prithvi Shaw's case of doping violation is taking an interesting turn with each passing day. Getty

Test opener Prithvi Shaw's case of doping violation is taking an interesting turn with each passing day. On Thursday, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) claimed that it could have avoided playing Prithvi in this year's IPL and Mumbai T20 League had the board received the cricketer's adverse report in time from the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).

BCCI's anti-doping manager Dr Abhijeet Salvi confirmed TOI's report on August 1, saying BCCI was notified about Prithvi's adverse report for a specified substance, Terbutaline, by the NDTL only on May 2 when the IPL had reached its business end. Prithvi's entire lab documentation report was received on May 17, after which it was forwarded to the board-appointed 'Independent Review Board' for further investigation.

"There has been no such delay on our part. The main delay was only (receiving) the lab report. They should have submitted it in 10 days, but they said due to some technical reasons it's being delayed and then finally we received the report on May 2. We would have probably avoided (read allowing him to play in the IPL, T20 Mumbai League)... there was no reason for us to allow him to play. We have sent a copy of the report to both the ICC and the WADA. If WADA thinks we have been unjust, then they will appeal against our decision," said Salvi.

This is the line of defence the BCCI has adopted while putting the NDTL in the dock for its lengthy delay in submitting Prithvi's sample report on 'technical grounds'.

However, NDTL sources, talking on condition of anonymity, said they had submitted the report to BCCI 'within the deadline' without specifying the time.

After IPL, Prithvi turned up in the Mumbai league - which was played from May 14 to 26 - for North Mumbai Panthers franchise as its captain and even won the title.

As per the agreement between the BCCI and the NDTL, if a cricketer's urine sample is collected during the IPL, then his sample report must be submitted within 48 hours. If a cricketer is tested during any other domestic competition, then NDTL must notify about it within 10 days from the date of sample collection.

In this case, Prithvi's urine sample was collected by the board's private anti-doping body, Sweden-based International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM), on February 22 in Indore during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. NDTL was to submit the report by March 4, but Salvi claimed that the board was notified on May 2. This long delay of more than two months not only casts a shadow on NDTL's testing procedures, it also raises a question mark over BCCI's procedures.

Even if the NDTL was at fault, the point is why didn't BCCI provisionally suspend Prithvi on May 2 itself when it was first notified about the positive dope result. It allowed the 19-year-old to continue playing in the IPL. The Delhi franchise, meanwhile, has claimed it was never informed about the dope failure by BCCI.

Then, if the board took another 15 days' time to collect the complete lab documentation from the NDTL, then it should have provisionally suspended Prithvi on May 17, which did not happen. Prithvi continued to feature in the Mumbai league. His Mumbai franchise, too, cited its ignorance about the dope case.

Dismissing any ill-intention behind keeping Prithvi's report under the wraps, a top BCCI official told TOI that the board stalled the process of Prithvi signing up with an English county team this May. "In the first week of May, BCCI was in the process of getting county deals for India players who were not selected for the World Cup. The players were Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma. Prithvi's deal was called off since the officials didn't want to bring any disrepute to BCCI," a top BCCI official told TOI.

As for not informing the IPL franchise, the official claimed the board felt it didn't make any sense since the thorough report was still not shared by NDTL with BCCI.

However, while keeping the confidentiality clause, BCCI seemed to have made an error in judgment in allowing Prithvi to use the training facilities at NCA even after July 16, the date he was officially charged on. Surprisingly, BCCI's own enquiry panel took almost two months to verify the veracity of the NDTL's findings, whereas in normal circumstances - talking strictly in terms of the standard procedure followed by the NADA - a review board takes between 7 to 10 days.