'Scandalous behaviour': Probe into Sri Lanka’s cricket party boys
Sports minister claims players were involved in ‘scandalous behaviour’ during their just ended dismal tour of New Zealand
Sri Lanka’s demoralised cricket team faces an investigation into alleged “scandalous behaviour” during their dismal tour of New Zealand, including drinking parties and squabbling, the sports minister said on Tuesday.
Dayasiri Jayasekera said he had been handed photos of players attending all-night parties just before crucial matches against the Black Caps, who achieved a virtual clean sweep in the just-ended tour.
“There was scandalous behaviour,” the minister said. “They have not only attended drinking parties till three and four in the morning, but there was a lot of tension and friction among members.”
Sri Lanka went to New Zealand as defending champions of the shortest form of the game, but slipped to third position this month behind the West Indies and Australia after their resounding defeat in the Twenty20 matches.
Sri Lanka also lost the tests 2-0 and the one-day series 3-1.
“When they return, I want to call the team and along with Thilanga [Sumathipala, new Sri Lanka Cricket president] try to find out what happened,” the minister said.
“My main concern is the breakdown in discipline. When that is affected, the team naturally performs badly,” he said of reported squabbling between players, including the captain, and the coach.
He said Sri Lanka would also focus on finding a long-term coach after Marvan Atapattu quit weeks before his contract was due to expire in September last year.
Sri Lanka appointed Jerome Jayaratne as interim coach, initially for the home series against the West Indies and then for the New Zealand tour.
Jayaratne, 49, had been head of coaching at Sri Lanka Cricket but his elevation to oversee the national team was seen as a stopgap arrangement.
Atapattu was the seventh Sri Lanka coach in the past five years.
The 45-year-old took over the team in September 2014 after Englishman Paul Farbrace abruptly quit months earlier to become England’s deputy coach.
Since 2010, Trevor Bayliss, Stuart Law, Rumesh Ratnayake, Geoff Marsh and Graham Ford have also held stints as Sri Lanka coach.