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Sri Lanka’s Gunathilaka, Mendis, Dickwella to serve one-year international cricket bans for breaching bio-bubble

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The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) board have suspended Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella from international and domestic cricket for breaching the team’s bio-bubble in Durham last month.

The incident took place on June 27, ahead of Sri Lanka’s first ODI against England on June 29. Mendis and Dickwella were filmed and photographed by fans past the team’s curfew time of 10.30 PM.

This alerted the team’s medical staff that three players left the team hotel without any notice. The cricketers, as punishment, were sent back from the tour and went into quarantine upon arrival.

The cricket bans - one year from international cricket and six months from domestic cricket - are reportedly lesser than the bans proposed by a five-member independent committee to the Sri Lankan board.

The committee recommended two-year suspensions for Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis, who have previously been offenders of the code of conduct. On the other hand, an 18-month suspension was proposed for Dickwella, who had no prior disciplinary breaches.

Danushka Gunathilaka has served suspensions previously for misconduct and alleged involvement in a sexual assault case. Mendis, meanwhile, was banned last year for a hit-and-run case that caused the death of a pedestrian.

The Sri Lankan board, however, opted to hand the trio the same sentence of a one year ban from all forms of international cricket. In addition, the Sri Lankan cricketers were fined 10 million rupees each and will be under probation for a further two years.

The bans are unlikely to spell the end of the trio's cricketing careers. Danushka Gunathilaka is expected to be 31 by the time he is allowed to return to the national set-up, while Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella will be 27 and 29 years of age, respectively.

Featured photo: AFP / Munir Uz Zaman

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