Kithuruwan Vithanage has been docked his full match fee and been placed on probation for one year, after he had left the team hotel overnight during the recent Test in Galle against Pakistan, SLC has said.
A board inquiry confirmed details of his exit from the team hotel at around 7pm of the third day of the Test, and his return at around 6.30am the following morning. Those details had originally been passed on by the team manager.
"The executive committee received the recommendations from the inquiry, and decided to give Vithanage a suspended sentence of one year," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said. The "suspended sentence" effectively means that Vithanage would likely be punished with a suspension if he breaks team protocol or breaches the terms of his contract again before September 15, 2015.
The incident had occurred the night before Vithanage was due to bat in the Test, and was treated by captain Angelo Mathews and coach Marvan Atapattu as a serious breach. They had requested Vithanage be removed from the squad, but he was allowed to stay with the team at the behest of chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya. Vithanage hit 5 and 11 not out in Galle, and was subsequently dropped for the second Test of that series.
No solid curfews 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. In an email to SLC officials, team manager Michael De Zoysa cites two previous incidents: one in Bangladesh earlier in the year, and another on a flight to the UK.
According to that 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.