<
>

Vithanage handed one-year suspension

Sri Lanka Cricket has suspended batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage from all forms of the game for one year for his part in a public brawl in Colombo. In a hearing conducted on June 16, SLC's disciplinary committee found Vithanage guilty of misconduct and in breach of the ICC code of conduct.

The suspension not only makes Vithanage ineligible for international and Sri Lanka A team cricket, he is also unable to represent his club - Tamil Union - in the Premier tournaments, and is barred from any provincial tournaments in the coming domestic season. SLC's severity on this occasion is a reflection of existing displeasure at Vithanage's conduct. In September 2014, Vithanage was docked his full match fee and handed a "suspended sentence of one year" after leaving the team hotel overnight in the middle of a Test match he was playing. It is understood that at least two other breaches of conduct had been dealt with informally.

In this case, SLC said its disciplinary committee "was presented with written and oral evidence from witnesses to the incident in question and Vithanage was invited to present similar evidence in his defence.

"After a closed hearing, and in consideration of the evaluation of the evidence presented, the Disciplinary Committee has recommended an immediate suspension, specifically drawing attention to the fact that the conduct of Vithanage is 'unacceptable when considering his status as a public figure, and a role model for the youth of Sri Lanka'." Vithanage can appeal the decision.

He last played for Sri Lanka during the tour of New Zealand in December and January, but his modest returns on that tour had seen him drop out of contention for national selection. Vithanage, 25, has scored 370 runs at an average of 26.42 in ten Tests, and has also played six ODIs and three T20Is.