T20 World Cup Report opens can of worms | Daily News

T20 World Cup Report opens can of worms

Report finds activities outside cricket in Australia
SLC acknowledges there are ‘Born Again’ cricketers
recommends Wives be allowed to tour at their expense
Eight officials evade committee despite notices
SLC Chairman has given false information

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has acknowledged that there are ‘Born Again’ cricketers in the national team. This has come to light after the committee chaired by retired High Court Judge Kusala Sarojani Weerawardena, which was appointed to examine the various allegations that arose in connection with and related to the Sri Lankan cricket team that represented the   T20 World Cup held in Australia, and the influence of the ‘Born-Again’ religious sect on the Sri Lankan team, was handed over to the Sports Minister last Tuesday.

The report has revealed many facts that had not been known so far. A number of facts that were published and broadcast by print and social media and electronic media from time to time in this country, have been confirmed.

In order to collect information for preparing this report, President of the National Sports Council former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, public officials who knew facts about the T20 World Cup tournament, officials of Sri Lanka Cricket, players of the national cricket team and Pastor Jerome Fernando who heads a Born-Again religious congregation were summoned and evidence had been obtained.

It has been revealed that more than half of the sixteen executive committee officers of Sri Lanka Cricket had gone to Australia for the T20 World Cup, receiving a huge amount of money, about US dollars 700 per day, which is 7,000 dollars for each for a period of ten days on business class air tickets. According to the report of the committee, some of the officials who were called to the committee did not respond well, and in the middle of last December, notices had to be issued to the relevant officials. The report also mentions that they boycotted appearing before the committee without even providing a reasonable explanation.

The report of the committee also mentions that the testimony of Dhanushka Gunathilake, the opening batsman of the Sri Lankan team, who was accused of sexually assaulting an Australian woman and was banned from leaving Australia by the country’s court, was also recorded using Zoom technology.

According to the observations of the report prepared after recording the evidence and information, according to the testimony of Pastor Jerome Fernando, who is said to be the leader of the ‘Born-Again’ religious sect, it has been declared by him that he is a diviner, and it has been said that no one related to Sri Lankan Cricket has actually come to seek his help.

However, on another occasion, he had made a contradictory statement that there are about seven followers who obtained membership at his church related to cricket, and had said that Ruwan Kalpage, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Vandersay, Linden Hannibal, Roshan Abeysinghe are members.

He had clearly stated that Kumar Sangakkara had been a member previously but is no longer one, now.

Also, in a statement made by Secretary Mohan De Silva of Sri Lanka Cricket he had accepted the fact that there were a few cricketers connected to the Born-Again sect. Considering the facts submitted, it has been observed that the witnesses did not give a true testimony and disclosure regarding the Born-Again members and followers of the Sri Lanka Cricket institute and the cricket team, and as a result, it is not possible to arrive at a proper conclusion regarding the matter and special attention has to be focused on this issue and the committee has also observed that impacts are likely to occur in future.

In addition, Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket Mohan De Silva in his testimony has revealed that at the dinner prepared for the official function during the T20 World Cup, Malik Shaveer who was known as a representative of Sri Lanka Cricket had sold tickets and that no information has been received up to now in connection with income received through that.

It has also been revealed that Mahela Jayawardena, who had gone to Australia at the expense of the cricket organization as a training consultant for the players, had opened a restaurant called Ministry of Crabs there.

Correct information about the expenses of the executives of Sri Lanka Cricket who visited Australia during the T20 World Cup have been revealed to the committee as well. Accordingly, the committee is of the opinion that the letters given to the Ministry of Sports including those expenses should be considered as a document prepared to cover up the misuse of the institute’s funds. At the same time, the committee has observed accordingly that it is clear that the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket has submitted a report containing false facts to the committee.

The committee observed that Jayantha Dharmadasa, Raveen Wickramaratne, Sujeeva Godaliyadda, Samantha Dodanwela, Priyantha Algama, Bandula Dissanayake, Rear Admiral Nishantha de Silva and Nalin Aponsu had ignored the notices sent requesting them to provide statements before the committee, and as a result, the committee could not find out their contribution to the game of cricket.

According to the manager of the team, Mahinda Halangoda, some of the players of the Sri Lankan cricket team who participated in the T20 World Cup had come to their hotel rooms late at night staying out beyond the time specified and cigarette butts had been discovered on the 6th and 7th floors of the hotel where the players were staying.

After making recommendations subsequent to all observations, the committee has mentioned in its report that Pastor Jerome, the leader of the Born-Again church sect, is using various tactics to increase its followers and as it is revealed that the true facts are being concealed while evidence is being given regarding the number of Born- Again followers related to cricket, and as Sri Lankan cricketers are a national asset that brings pride to Sri Lanka, and it has been recommended that the process of engaging in religious observances prior to players leaving for an international tournament which was followed for many years should be brought back and that a suitable Buddhist religious dignitary in the country should participate in blessing the team with Prith before departing for a tournament.


Add new comment