No decision on banned Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilika domestic cricket return

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Contrary to several media reports over their participation, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has not taken any decision on top order batsmen Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilika and Niroshan Dickwella’s domestic cricket return, Cricket Age exclusively learns.

Mendis, another Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) cricketer Gunathilaka and Dickwella from NCC, were suspended from all forms of international cricket for one year following the breach of COVID-19 protocol during the Sri Lanka’s tour of England in July this year.

The players are said to have appealed against their suspension to SLC . The board, in reply, directed them for counselling for three months before taking a decision whether to reduce the suspension.

“Depending on the reports we receive, we will review their domestic cricket ban which is for six months. However, it’s highly unlikely that the decision will be reversed, as it was taken by the Executive Committee itself” a top SLC official told Cricket Age, when inquired.

Furthermore, Cricket Age inquired with Technical Advisory Committee also, headed by former Sri Lanka cricket great Aravinda de Silva, and it was told that it would be reviewed only if they get such request, either from the board or players itself.

“While, their one-year international ban would remain along with a further one-year ban from international cricket suspended for a period of two years, there are slim chances that their participation in domestic cricket could be considered. But, then, we need to see what cricket board thinks on the matter” a Technical Advisory Committee member told Cricket Age.

It is noteworthy that, as Cricket Age had published one week ago itself, Mendis Yesterday officially announced his decision to leave Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) and join the SSC, in order to increase his chances of a quick domestic cricket return. According to sources, a desperate Mendis wanted to somehow revoke the domestic ban and even tried to pressurize CCC top brass. However, after his appeal was rejected, he decided to part ways with the club.

“These days everything in Sri Lanka Cricket is centered around SSC. Club’s stalwart Mahela Jayawardene sits on the right of Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksha (his business partner Kumar Sangakkara sits in left side). Pramodya Wickramasinghe, although doesn’t know anything about selection, picks national squads. Dasun Shanaka, who can’t bat or bowl, captains in shorter formats! Also, the way controversial Avishka Gunawardene, who was banned by ICC merely few months ago, and Mahinda Halangoda were parachuted in national setup, gave an impression to Sri Lanka Cricket fraternity that if you are associated with SSC, you can get anything. So, no surprise, if both Mendis and Gunathilaka will be seen playing upcoming domestic tournaments” a cricket expert told Cricket Age. 

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N Krishnamurthy