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COVID protocol breach by Sri Lanka players leave fans fuming

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathikala have been suspended for one year for alleged bio-bubble breach on England tour.

The lament among public and observers of cricket regarding Sri Lanka is growing due to the failings of the cricket team despite occasional great performances such as the Test series win achieved by them in South Africa in early 2019. That was the first time an Asian side had won a Test series in South Africa.

Be that as it may, the side has found the going to be tough after batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene left the scene a few years back. The youngsters have found it tough to give consistent performances for their nation.

“I have been watching cricket matches since 1993 but I have never seen such a weak Sri Lankan cricket team,” sports reporter Manjula Basnayake said on Twitter. “They can’t hit the ball. #SLvENG.”

After suffering a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of England in the T20 series, the Sri Lanka cricket team have lost the first two of the three ODIs in England. 

Issues ranging from Pay Disputes to COVID protocol breach

The pay dispute between the Sri Lanka Cricket team and the Board hasn’t yet been resolved. For the same reason, several senior players missed out in the recently concluded limited over’s series against England. 

Amidst all this, three mainstays in the Sri Lankan cricket team - Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathikala - have been suspended from playing cricket for one year. The trio won’t be participating in the upcoming white-ball home series against India. 

All three players reportedly breached the bio-bubble in England during the ODI series, thereby violating the COVID-19 protocol set by the hosts, on Monday. A video surfaced on the internet where the trio could be seen smoking on the streets of Durham outside the team hotel. 

With most things already in disarray, the fans were left disappointed due to their national players showcasing such irresponsible behaviour. Sri Lankan Cricket too weren’t too pleased with the act as Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, and opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka were flown back to Sri Lanka, with immediate effect.

The trio’s ban for a year would mean that they would be out of action until 2022. Thus, all three players won’t be part of Sri Lanka’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. This has come as a massive blow for Sri Lanka Cricket as all three are experienced campaigners in the squad. Each of them has played at least 25 T20 internationals.  

Sri Lankan Cricket is currently enduring their toughest phase in last two decades and the fans have left no stones unturned in criticising the state of affairs in the island nation.

Here’s a look at some of the Twitter reactions after the Sri Lankan trio broke the bio-bubble protocols

In the video posted by Nazeer Nisthar, Sri Lanka's vice captain Kusal Mendis and Dickwella caught smoking on street breaching bio-secure bubble.

In another video, while speaking on air to sky sports, Kumar Sangakkara emphasized on maintaining discipline, focus and safety rules should be any international player's no. 1 priority. He called the act by Sri Lanka players as muddled thinking or lack of focus.

Sri Lanka will play the third and final ODI against England on 4th July 2021 at County Ground in Bristol. 


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