Sri Lanka Cricket lifts Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella’s ban with immediate effect

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Sri Lanka Cricket Friday lifted Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella’s ban with immediate effect, Cricket Age exclusively learns. Following the decision, all three of them will be eligible to play during the Zimbabwe tour, subject to meeting required fitness standards.

The decision was taken during today’s Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting.

The SLC had suspended the players after they admitted to breaching the team’s bio-secure bubble in Durham during UK tour last year. The trio were seen smoking and roaming around the streets of Durham in the lead up to the ODI series between England and Sri Lanka in June. All three cricketers were suspended and sent back home immediately from the tour while the Sri Lankan board launched an inquiry into the matter by setting up a disciplinary committee headed by a retired judge.

“Considering their rehabilitation reports, the ExCo members decided to lift the ban. The decision was taken considering their appeals for the same” a top SLC official told Cricket Age. 

“Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to lift the one-year suspension imposed on the above three players from playing international cricket, across all three formats, with immediate effect,” the board later said in a statement on Friday.

“However, the lifted suspension will remain suspended for a period of two years, during which the three players’ conduct will be closely monitored by the SLC.”

SLC said that the decision was taken after a request from the players. “The latest decision was taken following a request made by the 3 players to Sri Lanka Cricket to lift the ban imposed on them, pursuant to the conclusion of the LPL 2021,” said SLC.

“Based on such request, Sri Lanka Cricket obtained a report from the Doctor, appointed by SLC to provide counseling for the 3 players during their period of suspension.

Sri Lanka will play the first of three ODIs with England on January 16.

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N Krishnamurthy