Sri Lanka lifts ban on cricketers who break COVID-19 rules

Sri Lanka Cricket has lifted a one-year ban on cricketers who break the Kovid protocol.© ICC/Twitter

Sri Lanka on Friday lifted a one-year international ban on three top cricketers who were disciplined for breaching COVID-19 rules on the tour of England six months ago. A board official said the trio – vice-captain Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella – had paid fines of $50,000 each and appealed for the ban. “Given that there have been no violations since they were banned in July, the board decided to accept their appeal and allow them to play again,” the official told AFP.

The trio will be available for selection for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, officials said.

Three players were seen breaching the COVID-19 biosecure bubble in Durham ahead of the one-day international against England. He was also punished for violating the curfew at 10.30 pm at the team hotel.

The punishment was the toughest by any cricketing nation for breaching the anti-coronavirus bubble that has now become standard practice in the international game.

Mendis and Gunathilaka have faced condemnation in the past as well.

Mendis ran and killed a 64-year-old cyclist in July 2020. He paid one million rupees ($5,000) to the victim’s family under a court settlement and was reprimanded by the board.


Gunathilaka was banned from the national team in 2018 for violating the team curfew on tour. In April last year, he was ordered to take anger management counseling after a drunken brawl.

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