Sri Lankan cricketers accused of 'scandalous behaviour' on New Zealand tour

Sri Lankan players had every reason to hang their heads in shame with their performances against the Black Caps and now ...
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Sri Lankan players had every reason to hang their heads in shame with their performances against the Black Caps and now their New Zealand tour has drawn controversy at home.

Sri Lanka's sports minister has promised an investigation into the national cricket team, accusing them of late night drinking and "scandalous behaviour" on their New Zealand tour.

Dayasiri Jayasekera told news agency AFP he had received photos of players attending all-night parties before matches against the Black Caps. He also told local newspapers he was aware of "serious allegations of misconduct".

Sri Lanka lost the test, one-day and Twenty20 series to New Zealand with Jayasekera suggesting the squad lacked harmony.

"There was scandalous behaviour. They have not only attended drinking parties till three and four in the morning, but there was a lot of tension and friction among members," he told AFP.

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"When they return, I want to call the team and along with Thilanga [Sumathipala,new Sri Lanka Cricket president] try to find out what happened.

"My main concern is the breakdown in discipline. When that is affected, the team naturally performs badly."

Jayasekera said he intended to have skipper Angelo Mathews, national team manager Jeryl Woutersz and chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardane attend a "please explain" meeting as talk swirled around the team over their behaviour on tour.

The Sri Lankan team left Auckland on Tuesday and a press conference is scheduled for late Wednesday (NZT) in Colombo.

"I have also read a number of online posts where serious allegations of misconduct were being levelled against the players and the team management. I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened in New Zealand," Jayasekera told Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper.

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Hotels where the Sri Lankans stayed during their test and limited overs tour reported no issues with their behaviour.

"From what I've seen there was no problem," a staff member at Rydges Latimer in Christchurch said.

A spokesperson for the Scenic Circle hotel in Dunedin, where Sri Lanka stayed during the first test in December added: "I guess you're barking up the wrong tree. When we have teams stay, it is confidential. No one's going to be commenting on that."

Sri Lanka were booked in at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson for ODIs on New Year's Eve and January 2 and a staff member was surprised by the allegations.

"I haven't heard anything about misbehaving. They were very well behaved," she said.

The reaction from hotels where the Sri Lankans stayed was not surprising as players and management regularly mix with members of the ex-pat community when they are on tour and spend time at private houses to so they can reconnect with home.

"There have been a few Facebook posts about players staying up quite late in the night the day before matches. It's not that unusual," said Sri Lanka's Sri Lanka-based correspondent Andrew Fidel Fernando.

"The team often go out to dinner with people that invite them from the local Sri Lankan community. It's only when they start losing that that becomes a problem."

Fernando said the team had a curfew time though it was loosely enforced.

"They allow the players to have a bit of freedom, generally."

Jayasekera, meanwhile, said appointing a new long-term coach was a priority.

"We have a serious problem before us. We have slid [down the rankings] in all formats including T20 which we were on top for many years. So we need to ascertain what had really contributed to this downward trend and try to fix it before it gets worse."

Marvan Atapattu quit as coach late last year - Jerome Jayaratne appointed in the interim and oversaw a series win over the West Indies late last year before the team headed to New Zealand, his last assignment.

Sri Lanka have had seven coaches in the last five years.

They play the T20 Asia Cup now before heading to India to defend their T20 World Cup title.

 - Stuff

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