Michael Vaughan wants more out-of-competition drug testing

Out-of-competition drug testing would help - Michael Vaughan

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said out-of-competition drug testing would be a "step forward" in the wake of Tom Maynard's death.

"If you had [drug testing] on a regular basis, there would be a starting point of potentially wiping it out completely," Vaughan told BBC Sport.

Surrey batsman Maynard, 23, was high on cocaine and ecstasy when he died last June, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is now preparing to step up testing.

A jury at the inquest decided that Maynard's death was accidental after he was electrocuted on a live railway track before being hit by a train.

The hearing was also told that tests on hair samples indicated Maynard may have been a regular drug user up to three and a half months before his death.

"Where cricket has to be a little bit wary is if you're just a county player, the season finishes in September and then you're not playing a competitive game until April," added Vaughan.

"We have to be wary that long periods of non-competitive action can lead to boredom.

"It's a long time not to be competing and it's a long time not to be tested. I do think out-of-season and out-of-competition drug testing would be a step forward."

On average, up to 200 tests are carried out each year as part of the ECB's testing programme, which is conducted with the co-operation of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) and encompasses all registered professional county cricketers.

These tests almost always take place on match days and are only likely to detect the use of performance-enhancing substances.

Vaughan, speaking at an event to promote a charity bike ride for the Chance to Shine project and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, said he did not think drug taking was rife within the sport.

"If you have 400 people in any room there's bound to be one, two, three, four who would participate in the wrong side of the game," he said.

"You can't just say it's London and you certainly can't say it's Surrey, but I would say there were many talks of a party culture in and around the Surrey dressing-room over the last year or so.

"This is a very unfortunate circumstance which the game finds itself in, [and] Surrey finds itself in.

"I always think tragedies are terrible at the time but as long as you have good people around you can actually turn those tragedies into a real positive. In the Tom Maynard case, I really do think a positive outcome can come at the end."

Following investigations at the end of last season, Surrey have introduced a team-wide anti-drugs policy, by which all players and management are required to abide.

Meanwhile, England batsman Ian Bell said he welcomed plans to increase drug testing.

"It is important that whatever is put in place... what has happened, never happens again," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Obviously it's sad but hopefully with things being put in place we can stop this happening in future."

Former Surrey and England batsman Mark Ramprakash said he was, on average, tested twice in a six-month period, and was not aware of any problem with recreational drugs in the county.

"There was a young nucleus of players at Surrey who were very talented," Ramprakash told BBC Radio 5 live. "They enjoyed their cricket and they enjoyed their socialising. I hadn't heard anything about recreational drugs.

"It's fair and only natural that people ask 'could anyone have done any more to try to prevent this tragedy?' It's right that we use this tragedy positively, to look forward and learn lessons from it.

"There is fairly rigorous in-competition testing that goes on in cricket and has done for quite a long time, which tests for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

"I think there's only been one positive test in the last five years. That would suggest that cricket doesn't have a major problem."

PCA chief Angus Porter said he was shocked at the possible extent of Maynard's drug use but, like Vaughan, did not think the problem was widespread in the sport.

"We're not complacent but I would say the problems in cricket are reflective of the problems in society as a whole," he said.

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