Fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been given a suspended ban of six months and fined 50% of the match fee of his next ODI appearance, after a disciplinary inquiry found him guilty of breaching his contract. Sri Lanka Cricket's decision will have no impact on the fast bowler's availability for the Zimbabwe series - he was named in the 13-member squad for the first two ODIs.
Malinga appeared before SLC's special inquiry panel on Tuesday, where he accepted the charges against him and tendered a formal apology. A specially convened executive committee meeting then imposed a "1 Year suspension, suspended by six months (whereby the punishment would be imposed in the event of a similar infraction within the stipulated 6 month period) and a 50% fine of his next ODI match fee," SLC said in a release.
The inquiry was precipitated by Malinga's response to sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, who had alleged that Sri Lanka's poor fielding standards were due to players' inadequate fitness, in particular their "big bellies". Malinga had not taken direct aim at Jayasekara in a stinging response, but nevertheless had implied in an interview that the sports minister was no more than an armchair critic, and had not played cricket at a sufficiently high level for his criticism to be taken seriously.
SLC said the fast bowler had twice acted in "contravention of the terms of agreement", which bar him from making any statements to the media without the prior consent of the board's chief executive officer: the first violation was around June 19, before a subsequent breach around June 21.
The three-member inquiry panel comprised SLC secretary Mohan de Silva, CEO Ashley de Silva and chairman of the disciplinary committee, Asela Rekawa.