Vithanage to face disciplinary inquiry
Kithuruwan Vithanage will face a disciplinary inquiry over leaving the team hotel overnight during the first Test against Pakistan at Galle, Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed. According to an email from team manager Michael de Zoysa, Vithanage had left the hotel at about 7pm after the third day's play, and had not returned until 6:30 am the following morning.
Captain Angelo Mathews and coach Marvan Atapattu had viewed the incident as a serious enough disciplinary breach that they had requested Vithanage be removed from the squad for the second Test, particularly because Vithanage was likely to bat on the following day. However, Vithanage was allowed to stay with the side at the behest of chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya.
"SLC will conduct an inquiry into the incident, with the disciplinary committee headed by president's counsel Palitha Kumarasinghe," SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said. The inquiry is scheduled to begin on September 2, at 4pm."
No solid curfews or bedtimes were in place for players during the Test, but leaving the team hotel without informing the manager, particularly until late into the night, is a clear breach of disciplinary protocol. Vithanage is also believed to have left the team hotel without permission on previous tours, with Jayasuriya having spoken to him sternly about the issue. De Zoysa cites two incidents: one in Bangladesh earlier in the year, and another on a flight to the UK.
De Zoysa's email also highlights concerns over fixing when players leave the hotel unannounced, and suggests the matter be referred to anti-corruption authorities if the disciplinary inquiry sees the need to do so.
According to the email, Vithanage had apologised for leaving the team hotel and said he had done so to attend a bana and pirith ceremony [Buddhist religious ceremony] at a temple. He was not picked in squad for the ODIs.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando