Sri Lankan Trio Banned And Fined

In June, three Sri Lankan players breached protocols associated with their bio secure bubbles.

Following an inquiry, led by an independent panel, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has now decided to give out one-year international bans to the three players involved.

To make matters worse, Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella have also been handed a six month domestic cricket ban and a fine of 10 million Sri Lanka Rupees (£36000, $50000).

The trio returned to Sri Lanka after images appeared on social media showing them in Durham city centre, rather than within the bio-bubble.

To compound Sri Lanka's woes, Mendis, Gunathilaka and Dickwella will now miss the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman which starts in October.

 The inquiry found that the trio breached Covid-19 safety guidelines instructed by team management and failed to return to the team hotel before a curfew of 10:30pm.

The SLC added the following:

"By such actions, bringing disrepute to Sri Lanka Cricket and the country.

Upon completion of the said one-year ban, each player will be subjected to a further ban of one year from playing international cricket which will be suspended for a period of two years."

They will also be required to undertake "mandatory counselling" from a doctor recommended by SLC

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe 2017, 3rd ODI - Statistical Highlights
Niroshan Dickwella would have been a key member of Sri Lanka's T20 World Cup squad

Harsh But Necessary

There is one differential in this scenario that sets it apart from other instances where cricketers usually receive bans: it has nothing to do with the cricket itself.

What do we mean by that? 

The ball tampering incident in 2018 sent shockwaves through the cricketing world, but Bancroft, Smith and Warner had contravened the rules of cricket, not the law. 

Not walking when you're out? Mankadding? Preparing questionable pitches to suit the skills of your team? All of these are morally dubious, but these questions do not transcend the cricketing world.

This trio, much like with the Pakistan players involved in match fixing, do transcend a debate about the morality of cricket. They are illegal, and for good reason.

This virus has killed more than 4000000 people across the world so far, and these measures are in place to allow life to continue with a minimal impact on the local populations. By breaching these protocols, they endangered the integrity of the bubble itself, and risked transmitting a virus into Durham.

So a harsh punishment? Yes. But given the devastating impact the virus has had on populations so far, the SLC really had no choice but to come down on the trio like a tonne of bricks, regardless of how much they value their playing ability.


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