New Delhi:Fending criticism that the Indian cricketers have been defiant in their approach to the new WADA code, left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan on Monday said he and his teammates merely raised their voice against an issue that affects every sportsperson across the world.
Zaheer said neither he nor any of his 10 teammates named in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pool for out-of-testing had any problem with the code other than the 'whereabout' clause which requires them to inform their availability and location three months in advance.
"We absolutely have no objection to be tested. We know it's important for the game that the players are tested, it's undoubtedly for the betterment of the game we play. It's only a particular clause that we don't agree to," Zaheer told reporters.
"We are ready to be tested anytime but we are concerned about the 'whereabout' clause," he said.
Claiming that the Indian cricketers are not isolated in their objection to the clause, Zaheer said, "I'm sure athletes all over the world have problems with the clause. It is high time someone took the initiative and we are happy that we did it.
"We got the cricket board's support as well and will go by whatever the BCCI says," said Zaheer, who has been ruled out of competitive cricket till the end of the year because of a shoulder injury.
Incidentally, tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams also have flayed the rule before signing the code reluctantly.
Zaheer's claim notwithstanding, the Indian cricketers have been more or less isolated on the issue at home with their peers in other sports criticising their stance on the issue.
Tennis aces Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi, ace marksman Abhinav Bindra, star boxer Vijender Singh and prominent wrestler Sushil Kumar have asked the cricketers' to stop cribbing and fall in line.
The BCCI, however, threw its weight behind the cricketers, prompting the International Cricket Council (ICC), a WADA signatory, to form a five-member International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) working group.
Chairman of the ICC s Anti-Doping Panel Tim Kerr heads the group which also includes ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat, BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, ICC Principal Advisor I S Bindra and former India captain Anil Kumble.