Tennis aces Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza today asked India's cricketers to shrug off all apprehensions about the vexed 'whereabouts' clause of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code and sign on the dotted line.
Bhupathi and Mirza stressed that the Wada initiative is about weeding out drug cheats from the world of sports and it is the duty of every sportsperson to cooperate and contribute to create a dope-free world.
"I have been doing the 'whereabouts' this entire year," Bhupathi told the Press Trust of India. "I think if the system allows for those who abuse it to be caught, we should go with it.
"Lots of tennis players had apprehensions early, but we are all doing it."
Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams were the two most vociferous critics of the clause, but both had no choice but to fall in line and sign it.
India's cricketers, however, believe that the clause, which makes it mandatory for an athlete to disclose his/her whereabouts three months in advance, is intrusive and also poses a security risk.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has supported the players and asked the International Cricket Council, a Wada signatory, to explore the possibility of having its own anti-doping agency.
This has created an embarrassing situation for the ICC as no cricketer from any other country has expressed any reservation about the code so far.
Echoing Bhupathi's view, Mirza, India's first woman Grand Slam title winner, said the rules should be the same for everyone and hoped the cricketers' concerns could be addressed.
"It would not be fair to all other sports and sportsmen of the world to make exceptions to Wada's rules and I'm sure any doubts that the cricketers have can be sorted out amicably through consensus before they sign on the dotted line," she said.
Reminding the cricketers that every sportsperson has a duty to support the anti-doping agency in its bid for a dope-free world, Mirza said, "We all share the same goals as Wada, being a part of the world sports fraternity.
"In order to ensure that the sport is dope-free, Wada requires that the top 50 ranked singles and top 10 doubles tennis players of the world need to sign the 'whereabouts clause' for off-season random dope testing and I have myself been a signatory to that clause when I was in the top 50," Mirza, who recently got engaged to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza, said.
Former Davis Cup captain Leander Paes has also said that the stringent anti-doping code is necessary even if it intrudes privacy.