Judicial Commissioner slams Sri Lankan trio as ‘ringleaders’


Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff has criticized the Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal, Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Manager Asanka Gurusinha. Apart from handing them the maximum suspension, Beloff has also called them as ‘ringleaders’.

by Rex Clementine

Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff, who heard a case on breach of Code of Conduct against the top brass of Sri Lankan cricket consisting captain Dinesh Chandimal, Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Manager Asanka Gurusinha has slammed the trio as ‘ringleaders’.

The International Cricket Council had named Beloff as the Judicial Commissioner to determine the sanctions again the Sri Lankan trio after they pleaded guilty for breach of conduct that is contrary to the Spirit of Cricket.

The Sri Lankans were found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute by holding up play for two hours during the second Test match against West Indies last month after captain Dinesh Chandimal was charged for ball tampering.

In a 22 page report submitted to the ICC and seen by The Island, Beloff makes very serious remarks that questions the integrity of captain, coach and manager apart from rebutting Sri Lanka Cricket and questioning the competence of their lawyers.

In his verdict, Beloff remarks, "As three persons in such senior positions they should have been leaders by example, rather than ring leaders of dissent."

"I am not oblivious to the natural tendency of those who see themselves (whether rightly or wrongly) as victims of unauthorized procedures and unevidenced criticism to stick together, but, I repeat, emotion is no exculpation. A message must be sent out not only to these Defendants but to the cricketing community generally that such behaviour is unacceptable and must and will be visited with punishment," notes Beloff.

In the detailed report, Beloff also claims that the Sri Lankans eventually took the field after being told that the game will be awarded to the West Indies. "Shortly before 11.30am, under threat of the Match Referee abandoning the Match and awarding the Match to the West Indies by forfeit under clause of the Playing Conditions, the Sri Lankan team eventually went back onto the field."

The report has gone onto point out the Sri Lankans’ total lack of respect for those involved with the game apart from exposing their lack of knowledge of the Code of Conduct.

"The conduct which gave rise to the charges showed a serious lack of respect for the authority of the match officials and a disregard of the interests of other stakeholders, spectators, broadcasters, commercial partners, and, particularly the West Indies cricket team," the report states.

The report also makes fun of the defence put by the Sri Lankan lawyers who represented the trio.

"I find that the behaviour of the Team, for which the three Defendants in light of their role and status must take the blame, was a further exhibition of truculence; and I find the submission that, by being within the boundary, albeit not in the middle, the team and the Defendants were respecting their obligation to play as, in a phrase once used of a prominent British Minister, "too clever by half"," Beloff states.

The Sri Lankan board has also been rebuked. Although Minister of Sports Faizer Mustapaha has recently accepted that the Sri Lankans were wrong to not to take the field, soon after the incident happened, SLC was claiming that they will defend the players. SLC is currently run by the Secretary of the Sports Ministry.

"The Sri Lankan board’s e mail put a retrospective spin (in the political not cricketing sense of the word) on the Team’s behaviour, which did not in fact uphold the Spirit of the Game, but undermined it," Beloff states.

Beloff handed the maximum penalty to the trio banning them for two Tests and four ODIs.

Chandimal was represented during the hearing by Chandaka Jayasundere, President’s Counsel, assisted by Pulasthi and Mehran Careeem, Attorneys-at-Law while Chandika Hathurusinghe and Asanka Gurusinha were represented by Kalinga Indatissa, President’s Counsel, and assisted by Pulasthi, Isuru Balapatabendi, Charaka Jayarathne and Mahesh Senarathne, Attorneys-at-Law.

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