Lokuarachchi to appeal 18-month ban
Sri Lanka's slow-bowling allrounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi has said that he will appeal the severity of the 18-month ban handed down by the BPL anti-corruption tribunal on Wednesday. The appeal will largely hinge on Lokuarachchi's claim that the spot-fixing approach he failed to report was made by a team official, and not a known bookmaker.
"It was not a bookie who approached me, but an official in the team who provided me accommodation," Lokuarachchi told Ceylon Today. "So I kept mum. I'm quite ready to accept the punishment if I had been approached by a bookie and I kept silent. But it was an official of the team."
Lokuarachchi said that an element of fear contributed to his failure to report the approach, which he said occurred in the hours leading up to Gladiators' match against Chittagong Kings, on February 2, 2013. He had pleaded guilty to the charge from the outset of legal proceedings.
"[The team official] asked me to give away 14 runs off the 17th over to be bowled by me," Lokuarachchi said. "I straightaway said 'no'. Then another team official approached me and asked me to do it. I again said 'no'.
"In the dressing room another team official threatened me and said I should not tell anyone what happened. Naturally I was very upset."
Both Lokuarachchi and his lawyer Dinal Philips expressed discontent about the tribunal process. Philips said the sentence was "a shocker" considering Lokuarachchi co-operated with the ICC. "The punishment is excessive for a first time offender," Philips said.
Philips said Lokuarachchi would now have to await the verdict, which will shed light on the reasoning behind the severity of his client's sentence. They will then have 21 days within which to launch an appeal.