Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have announced that a disciplinary enquiry will be launched against batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage after he left the team hotel overnight during the first Test against Pakistan in Galle.
According to an email from Sri Lanka team manager Michael de Zoysa, Vithanage left the hotel at approximately 7pm following the end of the third day and did not return until 6.30am in the morning.
Captain Angelo Mathews and head coach Marvan Atapattu both believed the incident was serious enough for a disciplinary enquiry and had even suggested that Vithanage be dropped from the side for the second Test in Colombo. However, following a request by chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, Vithanage was allowed to remain in the squad.
“SLC will conduct an inquiry into the incident, with the disciplinary committee headed by president’s counsel Palitha Kumarasinghe,” SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said. The inquiry is scheduled to begin on September 2 at 4pm.”
There were no specific curfews for the team during the Test series, but leaving without informing the team manager, especially late at night, is a clear breach of disciplinary protocol.
According to de Zoysa, this isn’t the first time Vithanage has left the team hotel without informing anyone. De Zoysa revealed that Vithanage has left the hotel on two previous occasions, the first coming during Sri Lanka’s tour of Bangladesh last year, and the second during the national team’s tour of the United Kingdom.
However, it is also understood that Jayasuriya sternly spoke to Vithanage about the issue and warned him not to do it again.
De Zoysa’s email went as far as saying that he was concerned Vithanage might be involved in match-fixing since he was leaving the hotel so late at night without informing anyone. The Sri Lanka team manager added that he may consider reporting his concerns to the anti-corruption authorities if the disciplinary enquiry finds it necessary to do so.
However, it was also announced that Vithanage had apologised for leaving so late at night, and had done so to attend a bana and pirith ceremony [Buddhist religious ceremony] at a temple.