Sri Lanka players Dickwela, Kusal Mendis, Gunathilaka Enjoys in Durham After 3-0 Drubbing Against England

Written by N Krishnamurthy

To overcome the disappointment following a 3-0 whitewash against mighty England on Saturday, within few hours three Sri Lanka players vice captain Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka and Wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwela were seen enjoying their night in the streets at Durham. Sri Lanka and England are scheduled to play first ODI at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street on Tuesday.

Nazeer Nishtar, a Sri Lankan in Durham, spotted both the players late night, filmed them and posted a video on social media.

“Familiar faces in Durham tonight, enjoying their tour! Obviously not here to play cricket, this video was taken at 23.28 Sunday.  Disappointing performance by these cricket players but not forgetting to enjoy their night at Durham.  Many Sri Lankan fans are excited to support the Sri Lankan team on Tuesday at Durham and have made plans to travel across England to watch the game.  But unfortunately these clowns are NOT here to serve  the Sri Lanka cricket and the fans” a self-shocked Nishtar posted.

The video raised many questions – Is Sri Team really in bio secure bubble? what team manager is doing, if players are roaming like this in streets in night? who allowed them to go out and enjoy? what million dollars cricket director Tom Moody and over the top coach Micky Arthur is doing?

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), which is presently busy in transferring and making board employees permanent, must instate an inquiry to find the authenticity of the incident. More importantly, board need to finish the inquiry and punish the players, if they finds guilty. Not only the players, team manager and coaches, cricket director also deserves a punishment.

England won the three-match T20I series by 3-0 against England. In the first match played in Cardiff, England drubbed Sri Lanka by eight wickets. In the second match at the same venue, England won by five wickets. The third T20I was played in Southampton, where England humiliated Sri Lanka by 80 runs and registered their fourth-largest victory margin in terms of runs in the T20 format.

With scores of 111 for 7, 129 for 7, and now 91 all out, Sri Lanka’s batsmen have looked strangely clueless. They were never able to register a total that threatened England in the three-match series. Only one Sri Lankan batsman crossed the 40-run mark in the series. With time running out ahead of the T20 World Cup, it’s an area that will have to improve if Sri Lanka are to challenge.

Sri Lanka avoided setting a new benchmark for the lowest T20 score in their history — which remains 82 against India in February 2016 — but any hope of a surprise victory had long since vanished.

Their performance was so pathetic, that disgruntled Sri Lanka cricket fans launched a campaign to shun their team on social media after they slumped to a dismal Twenty20 series drubbing in England. England recorded a thumping 89-run win at Southampton on Saturday to sweep the contests 3-0 — a fifth consecutive series defeat for Sri Lanka in the shortest format. As the hashtag #unfollowcricketers began to trend on Facebook on Sunday, thousands of fans boycotted the Facebook pages of vice-captain Kusal Mendis and opener Dhanushka Gunathilaka.

The aim of the campaign is to unfollow failed Sri Lankan cricketers from their verified profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Fans were also sharing memes asking each other not to watch the national team on television.

“Unfollow all these failed cricketers,” said Ahmed Inaamulhaq on Twitter. “Don’t let them have the social media attention if they can’t perform for the national team. They do not deserve massive fan bases.”

There was no immediate reaction from any of the senior players, but some observers posted that the latest performance in England was one of the team’s worst in three decades.

“I have been watching cricket matches since 1993 but I have never seen such a weak Sri Lankan cricket team,” sports reporter Manjula Basnayake said on Twitter. “They can’t hit the ball. #SLvENG.”

Not only cricket fans, Sri Lanka’s most iconic captain Arjuna Ranatunga and legendary batsman Sanath Jayasuriya also showed their disappointment over slump of Sri Lanka cricket standard.

When asked in an interview with DD India about the recent struggles of Sri Lankan cricket team former world cup winning captain Ranatunga said administration is to be blamed.

‘Talent wise I feel we are a very talented cricketing nation, but these guys who are playing I personally feel their commitment and discipline is not good but if we get those things right I’m sure it won’t be very far that we will go to the top’ Arjuna said.

He added ‘we need to have a proper change, need a proper administration and proper management in the cricket team to discipline the cricketers and guide them properly’.

Jayasuriya, the ‘Matara Mauler’, who rewrote the rules of ODI cricket with his swashbuckling batting, cited that the situation is critical, and it need immediate measures to save Sri Lanka cricket.

“Very sad day for Sri Lankan cricket. The situation is critical. We need immediate measures to save cricket” Jayasuriya posted on his twitter handle.


About the author

N Krishnamurthy