Serial offenders meet their Waterloo
Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis will return home this afternoon after breaching health protocols.
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka’s tour of the United Kingdom is going from bad to worse after three players were suspended pending inquiry and were ordered to return home on the eve of the three match ODI series that gets underway today (June 29) in UK’s northernmost ground – Chester-Le-Street in Durham.
Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella were caught on camera roaming the streets of Durham late in the night. Players breaching team curfew, sneaking out of the team hotel late in the night or smoking in public is nothing new in cricket and even some of our finest players have crossed that line. But what was wrong here was that the trio had breached the bio-secure bubble putting both squads, coaching staff, match officials and ground staff at risk. Durham has recorded high number of COVID cases in recent past and the violation is sure to upset the English and Wales Cricket Board, who were pioneers in getting cricket underway in bio-secure bubbles after the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.
All three players have been fined or warned for their excesses on previous instances and Gunathilaka and Mendis in particular have been serial offenders.
Mendis was arrested last year and was released on bail after causing a motor accident that killed a 64 year-old man in Panadura. SLC did not discipline the player and closed the case with CEO Ashley de Silva calling it a ‘personal matter’. Less than a year later, he was appointed the Vice-Captain in what was the best selection decision since wicketkeeping gloves were taken away from Kumar Sangakkara in Test match cricket.
Mendis will never learn because Vice-Captaincy which was offered to him straight after his four ducks was given more on promise than merit.
Gunathilaka had turned up drunk in the dressing room ahead of an ODI at Pallekele having forgotten his kit bag. He was reported by the team management to SLC and was suspended for six games. However, President Thilanga Sumathipala reduced the sentence to three games when he was running short of players to take to Pakistan in 2017.
Next year, Gunathilaka was involved in another late night incident during a Test match but he got away with a slap on the wrist this time with Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha protecting him.
So, all in all, those at Maitland Place have not given much prominence to discipline and it was just a matter of time that something of this magnitude happened. Had the players been put in their places when the first incident happened, it would have carried a serious message.
Cricket officials have got lot to learn from former cricket chief Rienzie T. Wijetilleke, who sacked a player after he was arrested for causing a motor accident that killed a pedestrian.
There was anger among cricket fans yesterday especially as Sri Lanka had been whitewashed in the three match T-20 series without even a fight.
SLC were keen to bring the players home from the next flight available. They were driven to London yesterday afternoon and were set to catch a flight from Heathrow at 10pm. Once they reach Colombo they will be sent for a quarantine place. The Cricket Board had taken lot of flak in recent times and this was the last distraction that they needed. Ex-Co members were angry yesterday and they met for an emergency meeting. Some of them were adamant that all three should be given five year bans while others felt that at least a year’s ban is required to clean things up.
The board now is waiting for the Manager’s report and will decide on the next step.
Sources said that the incident is a black mark for the country and Sri Lanka could be blacklisted for future events after a serious breach of health protocol.
West Indies seal series after Joseph’s five-fer in run-fest
West Indies and South Africa were involved in another run-fest to sign off the series with the former T20 World Champions prevailing by a tight margin of seven runs on Tuesday (March 28). Even though they didn’t have even a single half-centurion in their innings, West Indies managed to post a daunting 220 on the board and defended it despite Reeza Hendricks’ blistering knock in the second half of the game, thanks to a five-fer from Alzarri Joseph.
West Indies 220/8 in 20 overs (Romario Shepherd 44*, Nicholas Pooran 41; Anrich Nortje 2/36) beat South Africa 213/6 in 20 overs (Reeza Hendricks 83, Rilee Rossouw 42; Alzarri Joseph 5/40) by 7 runs
Pasindu wins digital stimulator E Racing in Thailand
Pasindu Marasinghe, the delegate of the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) at the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum, won an ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators competition at the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) on Saturday.
Twelve members from the Asia Pacific region participated in this competition. The winner was presented a Medal by Anothai Eamlumnow, Executive Committee Member and Chief Production Officer of the Grand Prix International Public Company Limited.
The world’s largest mobility and motorsports organization, Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum was held from March 22 to 25 in Thailand. Automobile Association of Ceylon, which is the affiliated club in Region II was invited for this conference programme.
This programme commenced on March 24 at Studio 4 MAA-LAI Kimpton Hotel Thailand. It was a knowledgeable and effective forum with discussions by experts on insights with capacity building in regions and resources available to clubs through FIA University Mentoring Programme and also to discuss AA Philippines Tourism Start up Experience. AA delegates attended this Conference.
On Saturday (25), the AA Delegates, who were invited to attend the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by the Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) as VIP Guests and were introduced to take part in the ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators, which was a grant offered to this club by Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA). Simulator training provides experience to drive Formula Grand Prix.
Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club is 85 years old
One of the oldest outstation tennis clubs in the whole country, the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club (KLTC) celebrated its 85th anniversary at a special function held at Kalutara Garden Beach Hotel on Saturday, 25 March with the participation of its senior and junior membership.
The event was presided over by the club’s current Acting President Roche Fernando and Vice President Dulip Wijayanayake.
The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) President Iqbal Bin Issack also addressed the gathering on video conferencing and congratulated the club on reaching the remarkable milestone.
Among last eight in All-island Inter-club Tournament –
By the time the KLTC celebrated its 85th birthday, the club tennis team, led by Ashan Fernando, had already reached the 2023 All-island Inter-club Doubles Tournament Division-5 Quarter-finals. That too by finishing as table leaders of their Group, Group B of Division-5. The Quarter-final stage of the Tournament, organised by the SLTA, is to be staged from mid next month onwards.
During Saturday’s celebrations, the KLTC Committee felicitated its distinguished former Presidents and members such as Camillus Silva, the late Elmo Fernando, Sumanasiri Fernando, Renuk Nanayakkara, Srimantha Fernando, Priyantha Fernando, Laksiri Peiris, Dasantha Fonseka, Janaka Fonseka, Sunil Geeganaarachchi, Chaminda Fernando and Chamila Iddagoda.
The KLTC is one of the handful of British colonial-era public tennis-playing institutions presently surviving in the island. It was founded as the ‘Senior Officials’ Club’ or SOC in 1928 by the then British government officials working in the area. In 1938, it was rechristened the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club and opened its doors to non-government-service members too.
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