Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

Rape-accused Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka suspended day after arrest in Sydney

Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday confirmed that Executive Committee of the country's cricket board 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 the star batter was arrested and charged with sexual assault in Australia.

"Furthermore, Sri Lanka Cricket will take the necessary steps to promptly carry out an inquiry into the alleged offense, and, upon conclusion of the aforementioned court case in Australia, steps will be taken to penalize the said player if found guilty," stated the cricket board in an official media release.

"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," it added.

Gunathilaka had appeared by video link in handcuffs at a Sydney court on Monday to seek bail after he was charged with four counts of sexual assault. Gunathilaka, who spoke only to confirm his identity, was shown on a screen in Downing Centre Local Court. He appeared calm as he sat wearing a grey T-shirt at a Sydney detention centre. The batter's lawyer, Ananda Amaranath, said he would seek bail for the 31-year-old.

Magistrate Robert Williams briefly adjourned the case before hearing the bail application.

The prosecution said it would seek to suppress publication of some elements that might identify the alleged victim.

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Police arrested and charged Gunathilaka on Sunday, hours after the national team lost to England at the Twenty20 World Cup.