Watching action during the ban was tough: Chandimal

By Revatha Silva

Sri Lanka Test captain Dinesh Chandimal said it was tough to watch matches while not playing in them, as he underwent a ban on international cricket, imposed by the ICC.

Sri Lanka Test skipper returned to action only in the last match of the South Africa series, the one-off T20 played on August 14 in Colombo, after undergoing a six-match ban for ball-tampering and breach of ICC’s spirit of conduct laws during Sri Lanka’s recent tour of the West Indies.

“It was tough. Very tough. Tough (only) to watch matches when I wasn’t playing in them” Chandimal said on Friday when he addressed the media at the launching of this year’s SLC T20 League in Colombo.

He struck a match-winning knock of 36 in 33 balls in that T20 against the Proteas after sitting out for the last Test of the Windeis series as well as the two Tests and the five-match One-day International series at home against South Africa.

What Chandimal faced is the severest sanction the ICC has handed out since its new demerit-point system was introduced in September 2016.

“I worked on some fitness issues and technical aspects of my T20 game during the lay off,” he further added.

Six demerit points have also been added to the records of Chandimal as well as Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha after Sri Lanka staged a protest refusing to take to the field during third-day morning of the second Test in the West Indies. But, for Chandimal, the total of all demerit points comes to 10, having received four demerit points over the ball-tampering allegation in the second Test against West Indies in St. Lucia last June.

This means Chandimal will be passing a sensitive period for the next 24 months. If he collects two further demerit points –for anything from slow over-rate to some kind of breach of the ICC code of conduct– he will be suspended for a further three Tests, or six ODIs, or a combination of the two, depending on the existing match schedules.

Sri Lanka will be playing as many as five major series during the next nine months before their important World Cup campaign starting in England and Wales next May.