Sport

Sri Lanka Cricket investigating ‘various alleged incidents’ during T20 World Cup

Sri Lanka Cricket is investigating “various alleged incidents” at the T20 World Cup following Danushka Gunathilaka being accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Sydney last week.

Gunathilaka was arrested at the Sri Lanka team hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning and charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent following a police investigation.

The 31-year-old, who has played eight Tests, 47 ODIs and 46 T20s, remains in custody in Australia after twice being denied bail. Sri Lanka Cricket has suspended Gunathilaka from all forms of cricket, with the rest of the squad having returned home without him.

The governing body has now announced the formation of a three-person panel to probe the incident, as well as other occurrences that are claimed to have happened during Sri Lanka’s time in Australia.

Sri Lanka Cricket did not give details of the incidents that will be examined, but Queensland’s Courier Mail newspaper has reported the investigation will also look into claims that another squad member was involved in a fight at a casino in Brisbane.

According to the Courier Mail, Sri Lankan news has reported that the unnamed player was involved in a fight with a group of men at a casino in the lead-up to the team’s World Cup Super 12s match against Afghanistan at the Gabba on 1 November.

A statement said: “Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce the appointment of a three-member investigation panel consisting of Justice Sisira Ratnayake (retired High Court judge), Mr Niroshana Perera (attorney-at-law), and Mr Asela Rekawa (attorney-at-law) to initiate an inquiry into the alleged incident involving player Danushka Gunathilaka.

“The committee will also focus the inquiry on various alleged incidents that have come to the attention of Sri Lanka Cricket and that are said to have allegedly taken place during the national team’s stay in Australia.

“The panel in this process will call for an immediate explanation from the team manager pertaining to his conduct, with references to the occurrence of such incidents,” the statement continued. “The executive committee will take stern disciplinary action against the players and/or officials if any wrongdoing or negligence [is proved] when carrying out official duties.”

Gunathilaka played just one match at the World Cup – the qualifying group defeat to Namibia – before a tear to his left hamstring ruled him out of the rest of the tournament, although he remained with the squad. Sri Lanka were eliminated at the Super 12s stage, losing their final match against England at the SCG at the weekend.

Sri Lanka Cricket will reportedly pay for Gunathilaka’s legal expenses after he was refused bail and ordered to remain in custody. His lawyer, Anand Amaranath told ESPN’s Cricinfo he expects those funds to be “recovered from [Gunathilaka] later – it’s a loan essentially”.

Gunathilaka could remain in custody for more than a year if further appeals against the denial of bail are unsuccessful.