SLSCA makes U-turn on Under 19 cricketers

A decision taken by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) to suspend two Sri Lanka Under-19 cricketers Ramith Rambukwella, captain of Royal College and Sanitha de Mel, captain of St. Sebastian’s College to suspend them from all tournament matches for the rest of the season has been overturned overnight with no reasons given.

The seven member SLSCA Disciplinary Committee comprising mainly of school principals on Wednesday initially took the decision to ban the two cricketers from all school tournament matches for the rest of the schools season, but overnight changed their stance and amended the ban that would cover only international cricket.

This about-turn would permit the duo to continue playing in the local schools tournament matches. Ironically, Sri Lanka will not be engaged in any international cricket in the near future, thus making the ban ineffective.

Mystery surrounds the reason for a unanimous decision by the seven members Disciplinary Committee to have been overturned overnight. A senior member of the SLSCA said that this looked particularly bad because on previous occasions schoolboys engaged in lesser violations have been subjected to strict disciplinary action. President of the SLSCA Rohan Karunaratne admitted yesterday that the Association had changed their previous decision, but declined to comment any further on the matter.

When contacted Sri Lanka Cricket on the matter a very high official said that the SLSCA was entrusted with the initial decision as all schools cricket come under their purview. SLC was in the process of conducting their own inquiry on the issue, he said but asked not to expect any results from the inquiry.
Meanwhile, the matter was taken up at an urgent meeting of the Royal College Games Council on Wednesday.

There were divided opinions on whether Rambukwella should be permitted to play the Royal-Thomian in light of the findings of the SLSCA Disciplinary Committee and the decision to ban him from all tournament matches, even though the Big Match with St. Thomas’ is not part of the tournament calendar.

A spokesman for the Council said yesterday that while no specific decision was taken on Wednesday, the matter is now “of academic interest” as the SLSCA has overturned their own decision.

A spokesman for St. Sebastian’s also said that they will not be taking any action against their cricketers who are involved in this incident and would abide by any decision taken by the SLSCA.

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