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Danushka Gunathilaka Could Resume National Duty After World Cup As Sri Lanka Cricket Lifts Ban


Danushka Gunathilaka Could Resume National Duty After World Cup As Sri Lanka Cricket Lifts Ban

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has taken the decision to lift Danushka Gunathilaka’s ban following the recommendations of an independent inquiry committee appointed by the board. The ban had been imposed on Gunathilaka in light of his arrest and charges related to alleged sexual assault in Australia during last year’s T20 World Cup. This development paves the way for the batter to make a comeback to the national side after being sidelined for nearly a year.

The decision was confirmed following a meeting of the executive committee of the SLC on October 13.  

The Sri Lanka cricket board released an official statement on the cricketer that states, “Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) wishes to announce that the Independent Inquiry Committee appointed by SLC, which was tasked with investigating the impact of the criminal allegations against Mr. Danushka Gunathilaka in Australia, has recommended a full lifting of the ban imposed on him in November 2022 following Mr. Gunathilaka’s acquittal from all charges filed in the District Court of New South Wales and his return to Sri Lanka on 3rd October 2023. He would now be able to return to national duty.”

Last year, the 32-year-old Gunathilaka had been arrested in Australia on charges of sexual intercourse without consent, including four counts of rape. However, the prosecution dropped these charges before the trial, and he also faced travel restrictions for 11 months in Australia.

Gunathilaka had maintained his innocence, pleaded not guilty, and underwent a four-day trial, eventually being acquitted of all charges filed against him in the District Court of New South Wales. He returned to Sri Lanka on October 3 this year.

The SLC statement noted, “This suspension was pending the outcome of legal proceedings and was imposed considering the impact of his actions on the reputation of cricket and the country.”

“After careful evaluation of Gunathilaka’s exoneration and with due consideration to his cricketing career and its impact on the cricketing ambitions of the nation, the Inquiry Panel, headed by Retired High Court Judge, Sisira Ratnayake, Niroshana Perera, Attorney at Law, and Asela Rekawa Attorney at Law, unanimously recommended an immediate lifting of his cricketing ban, allowing him to resume regular cricket activities and return to national duty,” the release added.

Regarding Sri Lanka’s performance in the ongoing ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, the team has had a challenging start, having played three games in the tournament without a win.

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