Rex Clementine in Island, 29 June 2021, where the title is “Banned”
Sri Lanka Cricket’s Disciplinary Committee has recommended lengthy suspensions for three players who breached a bio-secure bubble in England last month that resulted in them being sent home halfway through the tour. Accordingly, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis with previous offences have been banned for two years while Niroshan Dickwella has been handed a suspension of 18 months. Each player also has been fined 25,000 USD for their offence.
The recommendation by the Disciplinary Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Nimal Dissanayke is that they should be banned from all forms of cricket. However, The Island learns that SLC will allow them to take part in domestic cricket. SLC’s Executive Committee meets today to take a final decision.
There was anger and frustration in cricket circles after the three players were caught on camera on a night out while being in Durham ahead of the first ODI. Sri Lanka’s extended losing streak aggravated the frustration among fans and authorities. Players being on a night out and having a smoke is nothing new and even some of the greats of the game have been caught doing it. However, this turned out to be a pretty serious offence as the bio-secure bubble had been breached
England and Wales Cricket Board had spent millions of Sterling Pounds for maintaining the bubble and it was said that they were not too happy after the safety of all players and officials were put in danger. However, they did not make further comments after SLC promised to take stern action.
True to form, the board has put its foot down although on a couple of other occasions they had soft-peddled when Mendis and Gunathilaka had got into trouble.
Gunathilaka has been a serial offender and had been suspended for various offences since 2017 while Mendis was involved in a motor accident that killed a man in Panadura last year.
SLC officials said that they wanted to send a strong message that indiscipline will be strongly dealt with.
SLC had invested heavily on all three players. Dickwella was earmarked as a future captain while Mendis was the man destined to shoulder the batting burdens of the side. Gunathilaka had been prolific in white ball cricket in the last 12 months.
The Island learns that the players lied to the Disciplinary Committee. When asked what time they returned to the hotel, they had said that they were back by 11pm. However, the Disciplinary Committee got down the footage from UK and it was evident that they had arrived past 12:30am.
The three players were present when the sentences were read out to them and they had pleaded guilty.
Local fans welcomed the ban.