Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been suspended from his side’s third and final Test against the West Indies after he was found guilty of changing the condition of the ball during the second day’s play of the second Test, which concluded at Gros Islet on Monday.
During a hearing held at the end of the St Lucia Test, Chandimal admitted putting something in his mouth but wasn’t able to recall what it was.
ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath handed Chandimal the maximum punishment available under the code, i.e. two suspension points and a fine of 100 per cent of his match fee.
As two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first for the player, Chandimal will now miss the day/night Barbados Test, starting from Saturday, 23 June. Furthermore, and because two suspension points correspond to four demerit points, these have been added to Chandimal’s disciplinary record.
Commenting on his decision, Srinath said: “After reviewing the footage of the incident, it is clear that Dinesh applied an artificial substance to the ball, namely saliva containing the residue of something he had in his mouth, an action which is prohibited under the ICC Code of Conduct. The footage shows that upon receiving the ball, Dinesh took something from his pocket and put it into his mouth. After sucking or chewing whatever he put in his mouth for a few seconds, Dinesh then proceeded to spit on his finger and polish the ball with his saliva which would have contained the residue of the artificial substance that he had in his mouth, on two separate occasions.”
Srinath further said that during the hearing, the Sri Lanka skipper admitted to putting something in his mouth but couldn’t remember what it was, which the match referee found unconvincing as a defence and the fact remains it was an artificial substance.
On Sunday, Chandimal had pleaded not guilty after on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, and third umpire Richard Kettleborough, all from the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, had charged him for changing the condition of the ball in breach of clause 41.3 of the ICC Standard Test Match, ODI and T20I Playing Conditions after play on Saturday.
The umpires had laid the charge after television footage from the final session’s play on Friday, which had been made available before the start of play on Saturday, appeared to show the Sri Lanka captain taking something out from his left pocket and putting it in his mouth, before applying the residue of the artificial substance to the ball which they viewed as an attempt to change its condition.
This incident comes just few months after Australian opener Cameron Bancroft was hit with the same charge for his infamous use of sandpaper that sparked one of the biggest controversies in cricket history in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March. Bancroft was subsequently handed a nine-month ban from international and first-class cricket by Cricket Australia. Former Aussie captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were slapped with 12-month bans for their role in the scandal.
Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha charged for conduct contrary to spirit of the game
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson also charged Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha with a breach of Article 2.3.1, a Level 3 offence, which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.
The three were charged for their involvement in the Sri Lanka cricket team’s refusal to take to the field in St Lucia at the start of Saturday’s play, which caused a two-hour delay in the start of play, said ICC in a media release. “This action is alleged to amount to a serious breach of the Laws of Cricket and to be contrary to the spirit of the game.”