‘New crop of cricketers’ create nightmares over night frolics | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

‘New crop of cricketers’ create nightmares over night frolics

Sri Lankan cricketers stand to attention before the start of a match in this file photo taken by Saman Mendis
Sri Lankan cricketers stand to attention before the start of a match in this file photo taken by Saman Mendis

Sri Lanka Cricket has discovered it is faced with an extremely unpleasant situation following the latest off-field episode involving batsman Dhanushka Gunathilaka who has been banned for six ODI matches over a late night outing and a connection to an alleged rapist during the second cricket Test against South Africa last week.

Gunathilaka made front page news for the wrong reasons after the alleged rapist, said to be his close friend, was arrested by Police in Kollupitiya following a complaint made by a Norwegian woman that she had been raped at the same hotel where the Sri Lanka team was housed.

Currently functioning as a government-run interim administration, Sri Lanka Cricket finds itself under immense pressure to enforce discipline and the latest scenario, according to a senior team member, is the result of the entry of a ‘new crop of players’ to whom discipline is a joke while abusing their celebrity status in society.

“Discipline is not what it should be and there is no question about it”, he said. Gunathilaka pleaded guilty to two violations of his contract with one being his late night return to his hotel room allocated by Sri Lanka Cricket for the duration of the second Test against South Africa on July 21, and the other keeping an outsider or unauthorized person in his room.

Sri Lanka Cricket said it will brook no nonsense when it comes to enforcing discipline and will come down hard on any player tarnishing the name of the country and team.

“Players need to have control of themselves and manage themselves in a proper and acceptable way and this is a big requirement when you are in demand as a celebrity”, said Sri Lanka Cricket Chief Executive Officer Ashley de Silva.

De Silva said that what was required of a player on disciplinary matters is clearly stated in their Contracts but some players do not care to take stock thereby raising the question whether they need a separate tutor.

“I don’t know to what extent some of these players know what is in their contracts”, said De Silva. “There are two categories called minor and major offences. It is about knowing what your limitations are”.

Only last year was Gunathilaka banned for six ODI matches, subsequently reduced to three games, after he failed to turn up for a training session said to be the result of late night partying during a series against India.

Independent analysts contend that the breakdown in player discipline today can be put down to Sri Lanka Cricket in the past going soft or meting out lenient punishments over indiscipline on the part of players for reasons best known to them (SLC).

“It is only now after many years that we see something is being done to put these cricketers in their places. It is the only way that we can put a stop to the international community laughing at us”, said a former SLC official.

Gunathilaka’s six-match ban means he is not part of the five-match ODI series against South Africa which starts today in Dambulla.

As it stands, he has already taken his place among a set of players who have been tainted by bad behaviour while representing the country as sporting ambassadors.