Malinga to face SLC inquiry
Lasith Malinga will be the subject of a behavioural inquiry after he exchanged unfriendly words with media waiting outside Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters in Colombo during the recent contracts crisis. Television journalists approached Malinga for comment on the contracts dispute twice, but Malinga rebuffed them gruffly on both occasions. The incidents were filmed by a news crew, and broadcast on national television.
"The executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket has directed the chief executive officer of SLC, Mr. Ajit Jayasekara, to conduct an Inquiry into the two incidents pertaining to Mr. Lasith Malinga and the media personnel, that took place outside SLC headquarters," an official release said on Tuesday. "The CEO has been requested to forward a report on the same to the executive committee."
The first incident occurred on Sunday evening, after the players had met chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya and agreed to sign the contracts. Media rushed towards Malinga as he exited the SLC premises and repeatedly asked him in Sinhala if he had signed the contract. While walking to his parked car, Malinga replied, "What contract? There was a party here and I came for the function. Ask the people who came here for the contract."
Malinga was more visibly irritated the following morning, when he was approached by media upon arrival at SLC offices, presumably on his way to sign his contract. A reporter asked Malinga if he could speak with him as the fast bowler stepped out of his vehicle, to which Malinga replied in Sinhala, "Mind your own business and go away, man."
Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal and Ajantha Mendis had also been approached by television news crews on Sunday evening. None of the players stopped to speak to media. Sangakkara told journalists he was forbidden from commenting by SLC, and that details of the contracts issue would emerge later. Chandimal and Mendis did not comment as they left the premises.
Malinga has had a strained relationship with parts of the nation's media after he announced his retirement from Test cricket during the 2011 IPL, which came after he had made himself unavailable for the Test tour of England citing fitness problems. He has often been accused of being a mercenary by some, and has lately hit back at those claims, including in an on-air argument with a journalist on a local sports talk show.
At the press conference to announce Sri Lanka's new captains in February, several questions about Malinga's professional motivation were directed towards Jayasuriya, who defended the fast bowler's decision to retire from Tests with help from SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and captain Angelo Mathews.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here