Suraj Randiv has been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket for one match following the no-ball controversy that denied Virender Sehwag a century during Monday's match between India and Sri Lanka. In an extraordinary and unprecedented decision, he has also been docked his match fees for the game, as has Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was reported to have encouraged Randiv to bowl the no-ball. Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has been advised to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future.
The decision, taken by a six-man committee set up by Sri Lanka Cricket, capped a day on which the issue - which involved a transgression not of any law but of the spirit of fair play - escalated beyond proportion. Upping the ante were statements issued by the ICC - which said it would wait for SLC to act - and the Indian board, which called for strict action. In Dambulla, on the eve of a crucial match against New Zealand, Sangakkara's routine press conference was consumed almost entirely by questions relating to the issue.
In a statement announcing the punishment, the SLC said the incident went against the spirit of the game. "Sri Lanka Cricket is extremely proud of its team and their achievements over the years. It is of paramount importance to maintain the discipline of the Gentlemen's game, especially with Sri Lanka Cricket being winners of the 'ICC Spirit of the Game' award for two consecutive years," it said.
With Sehwag on 99 and India one run away from victory, Randiv bowled a big no-ball that denied the batsman a chance to get his century. Sehwag's initial reaction was to shrug it off in typical manner but he later said Randiv had done it deliberately. Sehwag also speculated that Randiv was acting on orders from senior players in the side.
Sangakkara denied playing any role in the incident and said he hoped it was not deliberate. Though Randiv later apologised to Sehwag, SLC instructed the team management to probe the incident. Following the enquiry, Dilshan's role in the incident has come to light.
ICC welcomed SLC's swift and decisive action, and appreciated them for upholding the spirit of the game. "The spirit of cricket is a fundamental part of our great sport and it is pleasing to see our Members upholding it in such a decisive manner," ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
"This is a clear sign that the notion of fair play is still very important to those who love the game of cricket and we commend SLC on its commitment to that. As far as the ICC is concerned it was an unfortunate incident and the matter is now closed," he said.
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