Former Sri Lanka cricketer Chamara Silva has been slapped with a harsh two-year ban from all sorts of cricket-related activities by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for his alleged involvement in a controversial Tier B first-class match earlier this year. SLC took the call after thoroughly probing the game between Panadura Cricket Club v Kalutara Physical Culture Club played from January 23 to 25. Kalutara captain Manoj Deshapriya has also been handed the same punishment as that of Silva.
On the other hand, the remaining players, coaches, and administrators have all been handed an one-year ban while the clubs have been slapped with a fine of 500,000 rupees (approx. USD 3300) each. SLC has also discounted the result of the bizarre game which has led to the promotion of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Cricket Club to Tier A instead of Panadura while Kalutara faces relegation.
The game came under suspicion after the unusual scoring rates benefited both the teams. Pandura began the third and final day of the game on 180 for 2, still in their first innings and scored 223 runs in 22.3 overs at a run-rate of 10.34. The game raised further eyebrows due to the pace at which the remaining two innings were played.
Kalutara were folded up for 197 in 22.5 overs in the second innings before Panadura hit 167 for 7 in only 13.4 to win the game. Panadura had close to 15 overs to chase down the improbable total.
Interestingly, Silva, who played Tests and ODIs, did not play on the last day of the match. However, he was given the harshest punishment.
“[Silva] is the captain-cum-coach [of Panadura] so he’s responsible. For any team the captain is responsible. Whether he made the decision or not, we don’t know that part. But according to the ICC rules – even for slow over-rates – the captain is responsible,” SLC vice president K Mathivanan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“How do you know that he didn’t agree [to manipulate the result]? He could have come and given evidence in front of the independent committee [that had made the inquiry into the incident]. He never did,” Mathivanan added. “And also, each player had been represented by lawyers, including Chamara Silva. Lawyers appeared on behalf of all the club players.”
When asked why the clubs have been given lighter punishments, Mathivanan said:
“If the independent committee has not found evidence against administrators, we can’t punish them. We based [the punishment] on their findings.”