While there is no respite (or acknowledgement even) from the International Cricket Council (ICC) or Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) since last 14 months, the Sports Ministry Thursday took the first step in setting up an inquiry over the long pending matter of former cricketers Avishka Gunawardene and Nuwan Zoysa.
In May 2019, Gunawardene, along with Zoysa and another former player Dilhara Lokuhettige, was charged by the ICC under the Emirates Board Anti-corruption Code. The charges relate to the T10 Cricket League played in the UAE in December 2017. Former Sri Lanka national team analyst Sanath Jaysundara, meanwhile, was charged by the ICC for offering bribe to then Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Harin Fernando, in order to “influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of an international match”.
Since then, however, the incompetent Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has just been keeping them in wilderness, only because they have asked some very basic questions – whether the T10 league 2017 edition was ICC sanctioned or not? Whether the team that participated in the league from Sri Lanka was approved by the then Sports Minister and selected by the then selection committee or not? And, why only Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley De Silva was handling everything related to that league on behalf of the cricket board?
Finally, yesterday the Sports Ministry summoned Avishka and Nuwan, along with Jayasundara, to discuss over their ongoing suspension without a fair trial! Cricket Age understand that the Sports Ministry secretary KS Ruwanchanda has setup a three member panel, headed by renowned lawyer Rasika Weerathunga.
“The panel inquired from all three about the ongoing suspension, their appeals, jurisdiction, SLC stance. Since the players have written His Excellency over the matter, the panel also looked the possibilities of intervention through the Sports Ministry. The panel looked quite concerned over the continues dragging of the matter and both Avishaka and Nuwan are satisfied with Sports Ministry initiative” a close associate of Avishka Gunawardene told Cricket Age.