In what may come as a harsh step taken by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the board has decided to hand one year ban to the limited-overs vice-captain Kusal Mendis, wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella and all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka after the trio was found breaching the bio-secure bubble during the ODI series against England. SLC made the decision on Wednesday.
Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis, who were part of the playing XI of the final match of the T20I series, which the team lost comprehensively by 89 runs, were allegedly found roaming the streets in Durham on Sunday night. A purported video of them went viral, following which the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) launched an investigation on the players. Although Gunathilaka was not seen in the video, it is believed that he was also in their company and all the three stepped out together. Furthermore, even though the players carried their masks, they were seen not wearing them.
“It could be anywhere between 3 months to 1 year,” the SLC official claimed to speak on the punishment of the suspended SL players earlier.
The trio arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday as they were immediately sent home after being found guilty of breaching the bio-bubble. They will also be fined after the final outcome of the investigation.
Resultantly, the trio is also out of the ICC T20 World Cup later this year in UAE as they will be out of action until June next year.
The ban put on three of the key players of the team may put Sri Lanka at a disadvantage as they are currently playing an ICC Cricket World Cup Super League series against England. The team does not have the advantage of getting a direct entry into the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. They would have to play the qualifying round to advance to the next stage.