Sri Lankan Cricket has fallen into further chaos with unprecedented bans

Kusal Mendis

Ollie Phillips

The year-long ban from international cricket that has been handed out to vice-captain Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella for their breach of COVID-19 protocols in Durham is the harshest punishment we have seen so far for the breaking of bio-secure environments in cricket.

One must, of course, take into account the context of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka itself, the national reaction and the obvious severity of putting friends, colleagues, and a series in jeopardy. The ban is not completely outrageous as a result, and was reduced from a preliminary two years.

However, with Sri Lanka struggling so deeply on the international stage and in the midst of a crisis both on the pitch and within the merits of its own domestic structure, it seems the board has driven the state of affairs further towards its nadir. In Mendis, Gunathilaka and Dickwella they have lost three of their most important cricketers, and it is consequently difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel.

There is optimism in the shape of Tom Moody heading up plans for domestic reform, but these colossal bans seem only to have contributed to an ever-growing shadow being cast over cricket on the island. Three of their main men not being able to pick up a bat or ball for six months will do little to brighten the mood.