An inquiry into Sri Lanka’s disastrous World Cup campaign has uncovered allegations of corruption, players partying at casinos and the influence of a fake prophet.
The new claims were unearthed after serious charges were laid against batter Danushka Gunathilaka, who was arrested hours after Sri Lanka’s tournament prematurely ended and faces four counts of sexual assault on a woman in Sydney.
Danushka’s court matter has been adjourned until February 23, with his defence team awaiting a brief of evidence. He is currently on bail, with strict reporting conditions and a night curfew.
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A separate, non criminal investigation found Sri Lanka players, officials and associates misbehaved as the Asian champions were stunned by Namibia in their opening match and then failed to qualify past their Super 12 group.
The five-member panel recommended that casinos be off-limits for players on overseas tours and that wives be allowed in their hotel rooms – a practice permitted until 2016 – to ensure they do not violate team discipline protocols.
Chamika Karunaratne was involved in a brawl at a casino along with six teammates when he took exception to a patron taking his picture. He was fined and given a suspended ban last year.
The 63-page report stated that investigators did not agree with team manager Mahinda Halangoda’s assertion that the players went to a casino for dinner because “all restaurants in Australia close after 8.00 or 8.30pm.”
The probe also found that former high-performance manager, Jerome Jayaratne, was sent to Melbourne for 10 days and paid $7000, but had no official role with the team.
It’s understood Jayaratne is related by marriage to the Rajapaksa family who have dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades.
Jayaratne spent time with his sister and contributed nothing to the team, the panel reported.
There was also mention of former skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who travelled as a “consultant coach” at the cricket board’s expense but opened a branch of his up-market Ministry of Crab restaurant chain in Australia.
Sensationally, there are now calls for a wider investigation into a man claiming to be a prophet who established considerable influence over some team members and key officials. The prophet’s authenticity has been called into question.
It’s understood that bowler Karunaratne left an oil lamp burning in his room, despite hotel warnings of a fire hazard, under the guidance of the man.
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