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Nuwan Zoysa cries foul over ICC statement

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Nuwan Zoysa attends a press briefing where he alleged that the International Cricket Council has prematurely declared him guilty of charges he never committed.

(Pic By Kamal Wanniarachchi)

by Reemus Fernando

At a press briefing on Friday former Sri Lanka cricketer and bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa claimed that the International Cricket Council has prematurely declared him guilty of charges he never committed and his lawyer Chrishmal Warnasuriya vowed to defend his innocence alleging that the ICC anti-corruption unit was hell-bent on tarnishing the reputation of Sri Lankan cricketers.

“It was a shock for me when I was made aware that ICC had gone on to release a press statement yesterday saying that I have been found guilty of charges which were never committed by me. I reiterate that the ICC Tribunal is yet to release the final verdict and its reasons to me or my counsel. Therefore it is a fallacious and a cheap gimmick by ICC to tarnish my reputation and the reputation of my beloved country,” said Zoysa reading a statement.

He alleged that he was harassed and humiliated in the name of investigations when he was at the High Performance Centre at the R. Premadasa Stadium in October 2018. He said that he lost his livelihood in 2018 due to the investigations and he had been left with no income to look after his family.

“The ICC hearing concluded on September 18. It was evident during the hearing that all evidence were in my favour. According to the ICC Anti-Corruption Code, the decision should be announced within 30 days but the tribunal failed to announce the decision within the time frame. Therefore I instructed my counsel to write to ICC. We were then informed that the final decision will be announced with reasons only after looking into further submissions in another cricketer’s matter which is being heard along with my case.”

Warnasuriya said that the ICC anti-corruption unit was finding it difficult to prove their 2018 proclamation that Sri Lanka was the most corrupt cricket playing nation in the world and was now hell-bent on proving that they were correct. “They were trying to use statements which they forcefully obtained from Zoysa without even giving him his choice of language during the initial inquiry conducted in 2018,” said Warnasuriya.

The ICC on Thursday stated in a statement that Zoysa has been found guilty on all charges after he exercised his right to a hearing before a Tribunal. It said that Zoysa has been found guilty of:

Article 2.1.1 – for being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of a match.

Article 2.1.4 – Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any Participant to breach Code Article 2.1.

Article 2.4.4 – Failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the Code.

It also said that Zoysa has also been charged by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with breaching four counts of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code for Participants for the T10 League and these proceedings are ongoing.

Warnasuriya said that ICC had no jurisdiction over the said T10 league.

He said that Zoysa’s case will be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland.



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Sri Lanka men’s and women’s teams ready to contest FIBA Asia Tournament

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by a Special Sports Correspondent

The Sri Lanka Men’s and Women’s basketball teams took flight to Singapore on Tuesday for the FIBA Asia 3×3 Basketball tournament.

The two teams have been in preparation since April and are being coached by Ajith Kuruppu.

The men’s team has to first prove its worth against China and Tonga and one more team before qualifying for the main tournament. “It’s going to be a tough tournament, but the men’s and women’s teams have been practicing well. Our preparations were good and we want to make an impact at the tournament,” said Kuruppu. According to the Sri Lanka teams’ coach China will be a tough challenge in the men’s segment of the tournament.

“We’ve been gelling together as a team during training and the players have a good understanding when playing as a unit,” said Sri Lanka’s Mens’ Team skipper Shehan Fernando.

Sri Lanka’s women’s team has made a direct entry into the tournament. Sri Lanka Women’s team skipper Anjali Ekanayake said that the ranking of the players in the national 3×3 team is good. “These players have got much exposure playing in this format of the game. We’ve been focusing on nutrition and shooting over the past few months. Training went well for the tournament,” said Ekanayake.

Coach Kuruppu took this opportunity to thank Vaaj Fitness for sponsoring the two national teams to Singapore and for making their gym available for the players to do strength and conditioning training.

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Chathurya, Dinara, Saajida, Vishmi advance to second round

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ITF Junior Tennis Week 2 Tournament

Chathurya Nilaweera ousted India’s Dhanush Varma to reach the second round of the ITF Junior Tennis Week 2 Tournament continued at the SSC Tennis Courts on Tuesday.

Nilaweera was the only player in the boys’ category from Sri Lanka to advance from the first round as he beat Varma 6-2, 6-0.

In the girls’ category Dinara de Silva, Saajida Razick and Vishmi Serasinghe reached the second round when they won their respective first round matches on Monday.

Dinara beat Yu Ching Wang of Taipei 6-3, 7-6(4) and Razick beat Indian Anushka Bhola 6-1, 6-1, while Serasinghe ousted Wei Chiao-Chen also from Taipei 6-1, 6-1.

In the other matches Dinethya Dharmarathe, Dahamna Methnadi, Nesangi Hemakumara, Vinethya Dharmarathne and Gehansa Metnadi conceded first round defeats.

In the boys’ category Vichinthya Nilaweera, Methwan Wijemanne, Abdul Bashit Cader, Thilina Dissanayake and Zahid Zihar were eliminated in the first round.

The boys’ and girls’ second round matches will be played today.

The tournament which commenced on July 4 will culminate on Friday.

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Sri Lanka add more spin options after first Test disaster

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Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage are likely to make their Test debuts in the series-deciding second Test in Galle.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka have taken some desperate measures leading up to the second Test against Australia in Galle by adding more spin options indicating that the team management and the selectors are willing to make wholesale changes after the pathetic performance in the first Test which they lost before lunch on day three.

Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya has been sent home after he failed to make an impact following the ten-wicket loss last week. In an inexperienced attack, the 25-year-old with 17 Test caps is the senior most bowler but he had got his lengths wrong in a game dominated by Australian spinners. Embuldeniya had struggled in Bangladesh as well and was dropped. Instead of letting him fight his way back, he was drafted into the first Test against Australia and it wasn’t surprising to see him failing to make an impact. Now with the series at stake, Sri Lanka have pressed the panic button.

Even if Dimuth Karunaratne’s side win the second Test, Australia will retain Warne-Murali Trophy since they are the holders having blanked Sri Lanka 2-0 in 2019.

Sri Lanka’s desperation is evident by the fact that they have recalled Maheesh Theekshana, who hasn’t played a First-Class game in four years. In fact, Army had been told not to consider Theekshana for the ongoing one-day competition to help him recover from niggles but suddenly he finds himself in the hot seat with a Test series at stake.

Uncapped Dunith Wellalage also has been added to the squad giving the left-arm spin option that has been taken away following the axing of Embuldeniya. Support left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama had tested positive for COVID.

Former captain Angelo Mathews who was in isolation after testing positive for COVID has returned a negative test and has rejoined the team.

Off-spinner Lakshitha Manasinghe is the third player to be added to the group. He had an impressive series against Australia ‘A’ too. It is expected that Wellalage will make his Test debut while the slot for the third spinner is a toss-up between Jeffrey Vandersay and Maheesh Theekshana. The leg-spinner was untidy in the opening Test and the more realistic option seems to be that Theekshana debuting alongside Wellalage.

Although three replacement spinners have been added, some wonder why Sri Lanka have not thought of some batting replacements. It was a pathetic display by the team in the second innings where they were shot out inside a session and faced only 22.3 overs.

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