New Delhi: Tennis aces Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza on Tuesday asked the Indian cricketers to shrug off all apprehensions about the vexed 'whereabout' clause of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code and sign on the dotted line.
Bhupathi and Sania stressed on the point that the WADA initiative was about weeding out drug cheats from the world of sports and both felt it was duty of every sportspersons to cooperate and contribute to create a dope-free world.
"I have been doing the 'whereabouts' this entire year. I think if the system allows for those who abuse it to be caught we should go with it," Bhupathi told PTI.
"Lots of the tennis players had apprehensions early but we are all doing it," Bhupathi said.
Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are the two most vociferous critics of the clause but both had no choice but to fall in line and sign it.
Indian cricketers, however, believe that the clause, which makes it mandatory to disclose their whereabouts three months in advance, is intrusive and also poses security threats.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) came out in support of its players and has asked the International Cricket Council, a WADA signatory, to explore the possibility of having an anti-doping agency of its own.
It has created an embarrassing situation for the ICC as no cricketer from any other country have expressed any reservation so far.
Echoing Bhupathi's view, India's first female Grand Slam title winner Sania Mirza said rules should be same for everyone and hoped the cricketers' concerns could be addressed.
"It would not be fair to all the 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," Sania said.
Reminding that every sportsperson has a duty to support the anti-doping agency in its bid for a dope-free world, Sania 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 'whereabout clause' for off-season random dope testing and I have, myself been a signatory to that clause when I was in the top 50," Sania, who recently got engaged to childhood friend Sohrab Mirza, added.
Former Davis Cup captain Leander Paes has also said that the stringent anti-doping code is necessary even if it intrudes privacy.