Reports suggest 'scandalous behaviour' from the Sri Lankan cricketers and friction within team
Sri Lanka’s sports minister, Dayasiri Jayasekera intends to investigate the national cricket team, after he apparently received information about their “scandalous behaviour” and also reports of late night drinking while on their recent tour to New Zealand.
Jayasekera informed AFP and other newspapers that he has photographic evidence of players attending late night parties along with “serious allegations of misconduct.” The sports minister also thinks that owing to the lack of discipline, the team lacked harmony which affected their performance as Sri Lanka lost the test, one-day and T20 series to New Zealand.
Jayasekera told AFP, "There was scandalous behaviour. They have not only attended drinking parties till three and four in the morning, but there was a lot of tension and friction among members.”
"My main concern is the breakdown in discipline. When that is affected, the team naturally performs badly."
Jayasekera now wishes to hold a “please explain” meeting with national team captain Angelo Mathews, national team manager Jeryl Woutersz and chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardane so that the allegations about their misconduct on tour can be looked into through some serious discussions. The Sri Lankan national team has already left Auckland and a press conference has been scheduled on Wednesday in Columbo.
All he intends is to learn the truth. He wants to know what actually happened in New Zealand as some online posts also apparently suggested that the Sri Lankan team has been guilty of misconduct. Jayasekera informed Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper,
"I have also read a number of online posts where serious allegations of misconduct were being levelled against the players and the team management. I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened in New Zealand.”
Hotels deny knowledge of inappropriate behaviour
However there has been no allegations from the hotels where the Sri Lankan team was staying during their limited overs and test tours. A staff member from Rydges Latimer, where the team took lodgings at Christchurch, said, "From what I've seen there was no problem.”
The Sri Lankan team also stayed at the Scenci Circle hotel in Dunedin. A representative of that hotel refused to comment on any allegations of misconduct, saying, "I guess you're barking up the wrong tree. When we have teams stay, it is confidential. No one's going to be commenting on that."
"I haven't heard anything about misbehaving. They were very well behaved,” said a staff member from the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson. This is where the team was staying on Ne Year’s Eve and on the 2nd of January.
Andrew Fidel Fernando, a Sri Lanka based correspondent did confirm that there were some online posts about players staying up late at night before match days but also reiterated that staying up late is not something unusual. He said, "The team often go out to dinner with people that invite them from the local Sri Lankan community. It's only when they start losing that that becomes a problem."
A curfew time had only been loosely enforced on the team is what Fernando has to say. "They allow the players to have a bit of freedom, generally."
On the other hand Jayasekera said, "We have a serious problem before us. We have slid [down the rankings] in all formats including T20 which we were on top for many years. So we need to ascertain what had really contributed to this downward trend and try to fix it before it gets worse."
According to him appointing a new coach might be of help for the team as it might help them get over the bad run of form that has haunted Sri Lanka recently.