Sri Lanka Cricket has banned Bhanuka Rajapaksa for one year after the top-order batsman was found guilty of breaching the obligations of Player Contract 2019-20 during “social and other media interviews”. The board has also fined him $5,000 for the same.
However, the Sri Lankan cricket-governing body has suspended the ban for two years, meaning Bhanuka Rajapaksa can now play. Since he passed the fitness tests, the selection committee has drafted him into the 13-member squad that has been training in Colombo ahead of the series against India.
During a recent appearance on a YouTube channel, Bhanuka Rajapaksa had criticized the team management’s decision to drop him because of his fitness. His argument was that there were no policies regarding players’ fitness for selection.
Sri Lanka’s coach Mickey Arthur had slammed Bhanuka Rajapaksa for his fitness levels
Bhanuka Rajapaksa made his international debut in a T20I against Pakistan in October 2019. He played seven T20I matches for Sri Lanka, amassing 140 runs at a strike rate of 130.84. However, Rajapaksa lost his place in the Sri Lankan T20I team after the series against India in January 2020.
The 29-year-old batsman has not played in the international arena since the Indian tour. Rajapaksa then appeared on a YouTube channel and blamed the team management for mistreating him.
Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur was not happy with Bhanuka’s remarks. In an interview with The Island, Arthur revealed that Rajapaksa did not focus much on his fitness. Whenever the team management advised him to work on his diet, he gave an excuse that he loved chocolates.
However, Rajapaksa seems to have attained the required level of fitness now. It will be interesting to see if the selectors name him in the final squad for the home series against India.