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Hasaranga out of PSL as Sri Lanka look to manage his workload



Wanindu Hasaranga will not be joining Quetta Gladiators this PSL season as Sri Lanka look to manage his workload. Hasaranga was partially available, having been scheduled to play in six games before leaving on March 3, but the franchise confirmed he has been ruled out of the league altogether and they are now looking for a replacement.

Hasaranga was supposed to join the team at the start of the PSL and after his stint, Afghanistan legspinner Qais Ahmad was slated to take over. But Hasaranga’s absence has forced Gladiators to play Qais in two games, though they remain open to finding a replacement for Hasaranga with seven of their group stages games still remaining.

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva told ESPNcricinfo that Hasaranga “wouldn’t ask” for a No-Objection Certificate, as he had domestic commitments with the National Super League, as well as an international series to play in New Zealand. Even though neither SLC nor Hasaranga’s management mentioned it outright, there is also the IPL coming up, which given his success last year and the money he earns at the tournament, is likely to be a priority. Essentially, the issue comes down to workload: the IPL and national duties are an inevitability, and there is significant domestic pressure to play in SLC’s local tournaments, even the four-dayers, leaving the PSL lower down the priority list.

Gladiators came into this season in poor form, having lost six games last season. Over the last three seasons, they have the fewest number of wins (10) of all franchises, having not made it into the play-off since 2020. They were edged out last season on net run-rate (-0.708) by Islamabad United (-0.069). They have already lost two games out of the three they played this season.

Meanwhile, Kusal Mendis – who was signed up to replace Jordan Cox by Lahore Qalandars – is also now unavailable. Mendis is part of Sri Lanka’s Test outfit, and as such has officially been part of Sri Lanka’s red and white-ball preparations for that tour. His not being part of the PSL despite having been picked by a franchise are clear cut – there is a clash with his international commitments.” Qalandars have found a replacement for Mendis in West Indies ODI captain Shai Hope.

This is the second time that Hasaranga has been denied the opportunity to play in a franchise league in the last eight months, after he had to withdraw from his Hundred contract with Manchester Originals at short notice.


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Cheering Indian crowds welcome Pakistan team before ICC Cricket World Cup




A Pakistan cricket fan cheers as the cricket team arrives at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India (pic Aljazeera)

The Pakistan cricket team has been greeted with warm applause and loud cheers by hundreds of Indian fans upon its arrival before the ICC World Cup 2023, which starts on October 5.

The contingent landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad late on Wednesday and was given a raucous welcome by local fans who had lined up to catch a glimpse of the cricket stars from across the border.

Videos posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on X, formerly Twitter, showed fans taking photographs with their phones and shouting the Pakistani players’ names to catch their attention as the squad walked past them inside the terminal.

Bigger crowds awaited the players outside the terminal and along their route out of the airport.

They let out loud cheers for Pakistan’s captain and star batter Babar Azam when he smiled and waved back while boarding the team’s bus.


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Danushka Gunathilaka found not guilty




Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup (pic ABC)

Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been found not guilty of sexual intercourse without consent following an accusation of “stealthing” involving a Tinder date in Sydney.

The 32-year-old was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup, after he went for drinks with a woman near the Opera House.

He had chatted online for several days and then had dinner with the woman, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, before being invited back to her eastern suburbs home, the NSW District Court heard.

The Crown’s case was that he removed a condom during intercourse without the woman’s knowledge when she had consented only to protected sex.

The complainant told the court she did not see the batsman remove the condom, but saw it on the floor shortly after the intercourse stopped.

Judge Sarah Huggett today found evidence about the “genesis” of the woman’s complaint undermined the reliability of her evidence. The judge said the woman had given different accounts in her two statements; the second, given in April this year, went into further detail about the issue of ‘stealthing’ and added that the complainant did not have a “clear memory” of what happened around the time she saw the condom on the floor.

“The evidence establishes there was no opportunity for the accused to remove the condom during the intercourse because that intercourse was continuous,” she said.

Judge Huggett considered the woman’s first conversations with two close friends, which seemed to frame the complaint in terms of the roughness of the sexual activity.

Gunathilaka’s defence counsel argued the woman lied, gave self-serving evidence and appeared to not remember parts of the night that were inconsistent with a “narrative” she created, which morphed over time.

Murugan Thangaraj SC told the judge the Crown failed to establish the woman’s reliability and highlighted what he said were inconsistencies and implausibility in her version of events.

He said it was “completely illogical” to claim she felt ambushed before lighting candles in her bedroom, effectively setting it up for “a romantic sexual liaison”.

In court, the woman alleged Mr Gunathilaka kissed her “forcefully” on the way home and on her couch, where she felt “ambushed” before moving to the bedroom.

She further alleged he choked her three times during sex, leaving her fearful for her life, and ignored requests to go slow.

Judge Huggett found the woman was an “intelligent witness who gave evidence in a considered way”, and was overall a “calm and responsive” witness.

But the judge said there were times when it appeared the complainant was motivated by a desire to paint the accused in an unfavourable light.

In his police interview, Mr Gunathilaka said he told her his preference generally was to not use condoms but wanted to on the night because it was their first meeting.

In the interview, the cricketer made mention of there being two condoms because one malfunctioned — which the Crown said was a deliberate mistruth.

But Judge Huggett disagreed, finding that his answers were the result of “confusion, fatigue, a language barrier and possibly memory”.

“I formed the distinct impression he was doing his best to be truthful and assist the police,” she said.

Sitting in the interview room, Gunathilaka told police the woman had organised him a taxi and he kissed her before leaving. “She didn’t even text me, I didn’t text her also,” he said.  “And that’s it, then I’m here.”

Gunathilaka has been in Australia on bail since mid-November.

(ABC News)

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Jayantha Paranathala passes away 



Cricket administrator Jayantha Paranathala has passed away at the age of 72. He captained Police, rose to the rank of Senior DIG and was a Vice-President of SLC. He also had a stint as Team Manager of the national cricket team and served as a member of the National Selection Panel.

He was instrumental in bringing BRC to its current glory.

 In remembrance of his service to the club, the remains of Mr. Jayantha Paranathala will be brought to BRC today (28) from  2:00 PM to 5:30 PM, providing an opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to pay their last respects to a man whose legacy will endure in the annals of Sri Lankan cricket.

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