Sri Lankan opener Danushka Gunathilaka suspended indefinitely from International cricket

Sri Lanka’s Danushka Gunathilaka has been suspended indefinitely from International Cricket by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board. Though the exact details of the reasons behind the suspensions are at this point unclear, the SLC released a statement saying that he had violated the official Code of Conduct.  It is believed he breached the curfew beset upon players during the recently concluded Test match against South Africa, but further information is at this point purely speculative.

The suspension isn’t the first time that Gunathilaka has found himself in trouble. He was reprimanded as recently as January of this year when he received a demerit point for a send-off he gave to Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal, and previously missed six ODI games in 2017. On that occasion, he allegedly missed a training session and failed to bring the appropriate equipment to a game.

This suspension, however, is likely to be particularly galling for the 27 year old. After a career largely spent in domestic leagues, Ganuthilaka made his test debut in July of 2017 in Galle. Playing against India, he failed to make his mark on the game, scoring just 18 runs and picking up a solitary wicket across his two innings’. He has been in and out of the team since then, but has been given his best run at International red ball cricket in the past month. 

Playing virtually purely as a batsman, Ganuthilaka made an appearance in the third and final test of Sri Lanka’s tour of the West Indies, and though he made promising starts in both innings, he could only manage a 29 and a 21 in that match. Regardless, he was selected for the first Test of Sri Lanka’s home series against South Africa, where his stats once again told a similar tale.

In this most recent Test though, and the one during which he received this suspension, he finally broke through for some runs. In the first innings he made a solid 57 before knocked over by the unstoppable Maharaj, while in the second he managed a dynamic 61 off just 68 balls.

The two innings were the first times he had passed 30 in his International Test career, and appeared to go some way to justifying the faith shown in him by selectors in this match, for which he could easily have been dropped. The suspension, however, bathes the half centuries in a different light. The length of the suspension is at this point unclear, but it will give at least one opportunity to another batsman to take his spot, and given his relative lack of runs when he has represented Sri Lanka, he likely won’t be walking immediately back into the team.

This controversy aside, the series has in actual fact been a good one for Sri Lanka. They ended the two Test series with two victories, with their bowling a feature of the matches. Aside from a 290 in the second innings of the second test, South Africa struggled enormously with bat in hand, being bowled out for 126, 73 and 124 respectively in their three other innings.