On Thursday (November 17), Sri Lanka's tainted cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka was granted bail in Sydney, leading to a reversal of an earlier decision in the case of the alleged sexual assault of a woman during his national side's tour of Australia for the recently-concluded T20 World Cup 2022 edition. The batter, who has been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) with immediate effect following the serious charges, appeared in Sydney's Downing Centre court courtesy of a video link from Parklea Correctional Centre, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, where he has remained in custody after being denied a bail early this month.
It is to be noted that Gunathilaka has been charged with four counts of sexual intercourse with a woman, with whom he got in touch via a dating app, without consent in Sydney's eastern suburbs. While he has been granted bail, the 31-year-old has been banned from using any of his existing social media or dating profiles on release. In addition, he will not be able to leave Australia with his passport being surrendered.
After his arrest, Sri Lanka's former captain and consultant coach Mahela Jayawardena reacted to the shocking news. In a report in One Cricket, he said, "The players who go on these tournaments are not school kids, they are professionals and they must take responsibility for their behaviour and the decisions they make."
"As a team, we have limitations in which we should behave and we participated in the tournament fully aware of these boundaries. Unfortunately, these incidents have happened in the last two days. It's really sad that such things had to happen but as I said before we will need to find out what happened, actually, according to the law of that country."
Media release of the SLC:
Immediately after Gunathilaka found himself in deep trouble with the rape charges levied, the SLC released an official statement suspending him from all forms of cricket. The statement read, "The Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend national player Danushka Gunathilaka from all forms of cricket with immediate effect and will not consider him for any selections after being informed that Mr. Gunathilaka was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a woman in Australia."
Furthermore, Sri Lanka Cricket will take the necessary steps to carry out an inquiry into the alleged offense promptly, and, upon conclusion of the aforementioned court case in Australia, steps will be taken to penalize the said player if found guilty. Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to emphasize that it adopts a “zero tolerance” policy for any such conduct by a player and will provide all the required support to the Australian law enforcement authorities to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident."