Melbourne:Former Australian great Ian Chappell says players' apprehensions to sign WADA's controversial 'whereabout clause' was understandable but feels the price was worth paying in view of a possible doping menace which may come with high pay packages for cricketers.
"It's easy to understand the concerns of both players and administrators as the ICC seeks to iron out the wrinkles in its recently adopted comprehensive drug-testing policy. The players are naturally worried about an invasion of privacy," Chappell said.
"If cricket shied away from a tough drug-testing regime, there's no guarantee doping wouldn't escalate and then down the track fans would have doubts, like there are in baseball now, over players' records," he was quoted as saying by a cricket website.
Chappell fears the gap in players' earnings could drive them to doping and create a competitive gap among them.
"It's easy to see why the ICC wants a random and year-round drug-testing regime. In cricket there's a major imbalance in players' earnings. If doping did escalate, the higher-paid performers would have access to the more sophisticated drugs.
"The risk of not having a tough, year-round drug-testing regime would be a widening in the competitive gap between the haves and the have-nots. The players using the cheaper drugs would also run a greater risk of being caught out by testing," he feared.
Chappell feels players would be grateful down the years as no one would have a reason to question their integrity.
"The main gripe of the players - and it's not just the cricketers but a number of different sportsmen - is that they have to notify the officials of their whereabouts out of season. As well as being an invasion of privacy, the players point out that it's also a security risk having people know their whereabouts.
"However, in the end it may be the price the players have to pay to ensure "the sport remains fair and clean". While it may be an inconvenience at the time, in the years to come, players will be grateful.
"If a tough testing regime ensures the public isn't questioning the integrity of players whose records feature more asterisks than an ancient honour roll, then it will have been a price worth paying," he said.