Chandimal to appeal ball tampering suspension

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has chosen to lodge an appeal against the match referee’s findings from the second Test in St Lucia which saw in him being suspended for one Test on a ball-tampering charge.

The charges were raised against Chandimal after umpires reviewed footage of him that appeared to show he took some sort of sweet from his left pocket, put them in his mouth and used saliva to shine the ball.

He was banned for one Test match and fined 100 per cent of his match fee by the match referee, however the ICC today confirmed he has appealed, with a date for his hearing still to be set.

Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha and the skipper Chandimal were also charged with a breach of Article 2.3.1, a Level 3 offence, which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” following the team’s refusal to take the field in the opening session of the fourth day of the second Test against the West Indies.

Chandimal faces the possibility of being hit with an additional two Tests on the sidelines should his appeal go awry.

The Sri Lanka skipper will technically be the first player to earn a suspension from as a direct result of a ball tampering charge with Steve Smith suspended for bringing the game into disrepute for his role in the sandpaper tampering saga at Newlands against South Africa earlier this year.

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis was fined a 100% of his match fee for a similar offence in Australia in 2017 but was only given three suspension points, short of the four needed to miss a match.

The ICC have plans to strengthen the sanctions for ball tampering after the reaction to the incident at Newlands earlier this year but at this stage the maximum punishment is a one-match ban and 100 per cent match fee fine.

Match referee Javagal Srinath said in a statement: “After reviewing the footage of the incident, it is clear that Dinesh applied an artificial substance to the ball, namely saliva containing the residue of something he had in his mouth, an action which is prohibited under the ICC Code of Conduct.

“The footage shows that upon receiving the ball, Dinesh took something from his pocket and put it into his mouth.

“After sucking or chewing whatever he put in his mouth for a few seconds, Dinesh then proceeded to spit on his finger and polish the ball with his saliva which would have contained the residue of the artificial substance that he had in his mouth, on two separate occasions.

“During the hearing, Dinesh admitted to putting something in his mouth but couldn’t remember what it was, which I found unconvincing as a defence and the fact remains it was an artificial substance.

“In the pre-series briefing held on the back of the ICC Cricket Committee recommendations, both the sides were explicitly told that the match officials would be extra vigilant towards all aspects of fair play, including changing the condition of the ball and as such it is disappointing that this has happened.”