Sri Lankan batter Danushka Gunathilaka has been suspended from all forms of cricket by the Sri Lanka Cricket board after the batter was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a woman in Australia during the T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday.
“The Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend national player Danushka Gunathilaka from all forms of cricket with immediate effect and will not consider him for any selections after being informed that Mr. Gunathilaka was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a woman in Australia,” the Sri Lanka Cricket said in an official statement. Sri Lanka Cricket has emphasised its “zero tolerance” stance for any such behaviour and promised to take the appropriate actions to undertake an investigation into the alleged infraction as soon as possible.
“Furthermore, Sri Lanka Cricket will take the necessary steps to carry out an inquiry into the alleged offence promptly. Upon conclusion of the aforementioned court case in Australia, steps will be taken to penalize the said player if found guilty. Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to emphasize that it adopts a “zero tolerance” policy for any such conduct by a player and will provide all the required support to the Australian law enforcement authorities to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident,” the statement further read.
Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in Sydney over alleged charges of rape on Sunday morning. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the arrest was made from the team hotel in Sydney’s central business district in connection with an alleged sexual abuse complaint of a 29-year-old woman. The sexual assault was reported at a property in Rose Bay earlier in the week.
“The woman met with the man after communicating with him for a number of days via an online dating application; it’s alleged he then sexually assaulted her on the evening of November 2, 2022. As part of ongoing investigations, a crime scene examination was undertaken by specialist police at an address in Rose Bay yesterday. Following further inquiries, a 31-year-old man was arrested at a hotel on Sussex Street, Sydney, shortly before 1 am today (Sunday, November 6, 2022),” said a New South Wales police statement as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Earlier before SLC’s decision came, Sri Lankan cricketer Gunathilaka was refused bail after the hearing at a local court here on Monday.
According to a report in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, Gunathilaka appeared via video link in Downing Centre Local Court on Monday from Surry Hills cells. He was handcuffed and wearing a grey T-shirt, blue jeans and thongs, as his lawyer Ananda Amaranath made a bail application.
“Certainly, we are considering an application to the Supreme Court … and that will be done as soon as possible. He’ll be disappointed, clearly,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Amaranth as saying outside court on Monday.
Due to a hamstring injury, Gunathilaka was forced to withdraw from the T20 World Cup in the preliminary round. He was replaced in the lineup but stayed in Australia with the team. Since making his debut in November 2015, he has played for Sri Lanka in eight Tests, 47 ODIs, and 46 T20Is.
After losing to England at the Sydney Cricket Ground in their final group match, Sri Lanka crashed out of the tournament on Sunday.