Former Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya banned for two years from cricket by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.
Jayasuriya was punished by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after refusing to co-operate with the investigations by “destroying” the phones which were the evidence.
“As a result of the admissions, he has accepted a sanction of a two-year period of ineligibility,” the ICC stated.
However, Jayasuriya admitted his offense in a statement on Twitter, said the ban had taken its effect from October 15, 2018. He wasn’t given the maximum punishment of five years because of his “previous good conduct”.
— TOI Sports (@toisports) February 26, 2019
According to the article 2.4.7, it stated, “the charges included refusal to co-operate with an ACU investigation, obstructing or delaying the investigation including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information which may be relevant.”
The renowned left-handed batsman and the orthodox spinner was an important player of the Sri Lanka team. The 49-year-old had played nearly 600 International matches in his 22-year long cricketing career. Later he served two terms as the chairman of selectors. He was adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award during Sri Lanka’s victorious World Cup campaign in 1996.
“It is unfortunate that even though I provided the ICC ACU with all the information as demanded by the officials the ICC ACU thought it fit to charge me under the Code although there were no allegations of corruption, betting or misuse of inside information,” Jayasuriya said in the statement after ICC took the decision.
He was questioned as part of the ICC’s investigation regarding the corruption in Sri Lankan cricket.
ICC General Manager ACU, Alex Marshall, however, said, “This conviction under the Code demonstrates the importance of participants in cricket co-operating with investigations. Compelling participants to cooperate under the Code is a vital weapon in our efforts to rid our sport of corruptors. These rules are essential to maintain the integrity of our sport.”
As per the investigation by the ICC, the former player was asked to hand over his mobile phones after ACU GM Alex Marshall expressed that the information which was on his mobile devices during the period between January 1, 2017, to 22 September 2017 “might be relevant to the investigation.” He also said to the ACU team to “demand” the two mobile devices, belongs to Jayasuriya.
Meanwhile, the ICC ACU unit has already investigated Jayasuriya on September 22, 23 and October 5 in 2017. As per the report, the ACU team had specifically asked the former player to all the details of his phone and on the first day of investigation he informed that he had two mobile phones.
But on the very next day on September 23, 2017, he changed his statement and said that he had two more mobile phones which got lost between May 15 to 23/24, in the same year. The last digits of those two numbers were ‘888’ and ‘088’ and they were not in use.
However, the investigators called upon the numbers which have the last digits of ‘888’ and the phone rang but on the second time, there was an automated response of the call.
Later, on October 5, Jayasuriya further stated that he had to destroy the earlier phone after a private video went viral and he was “under stress”. But his lawyer said that it was the player’s driver who retrieved the sim card and used it in another phone. Later he gave it to Jayasuriya, who then used the earlier sim which has the last digit of ‘888’ to check text messages.
By the time, the ACU unit arranged the proof that between March 15, 2017, and September 14, 2017, there were hundreds of calls and text messages recorded on that number which proved that the statement which Jayasuriya gave, was wrong. Later, when his lawyer admitted that the former player had misled the ICC officials in their investigation, he was charged with the sections 2.4.6 and 2.4.7 respectively.
While talking about why he admitted to the charges claimed by the ICC, he said, “I accepted the charges for the greater good and to protect the integrity of cricket.”
“I have always put country first and the cricket loving public are the best witnesses to this aspect. I profusely thank the public of Sri Lanka and my fans for having stood by me during this difficult period,” he further added.
However, the ACU recently granted an official pardon to 11 players and other participants with new information.
“The amnesty has worked very well and has delivered significant new and important intelligence,” Marshall said. “I am very grateful to those who participated in the amnesty and as a result of the information shared we now have a much clearer picture of the situation in Sri Lanka and our investigations are continuing.”
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