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Panadura SC want bans rescinded after first-class match probe

Chamara Silva AFP

Administrators of Panadura Sports Club have demanded that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) rescind the bans handed out to its players, while several players themselves have formally asked the board to reconsider its ruling.

On Saturday, SLC had announced that 22 first-class players would be banned from "cricket-related activities" for one year, for their supposed role in manipulating the result of a Tier B first-class match in January. Captains Chamara Silva and Manoj Deshapriya were given two-year bans.

ESPNcricinfo has learnt that at least six of these players have retained the services of a lawyer, and that those players have lodged a formal complaint to the board. SLC vice-president K Mathivanan confirmed the receipt of that letter.

Those players contend, effectively, that they had not had adequate opportunity to defend themselves at the inquiry that found them guilty of misconduct - a claim the board has already vehemently denied.

Meanwhile, Panadura Sports Club has said that the match in question - in which 605 runs were scored off 60 overs on the final day - did not feature unfair play. They pointed to alleged irregularities in the match referee's report to support their claim.

"What we are saying is that nothing untoward happened in this game," Panadura SC president Jayantha Silva said. "Our cricketers didn't do anything untoward, and as a club we didn't do anything untoward.

"If something did happen, the people who have to bear that responsibility are the umpires. The charge sheet was founded on unlawful documents provided by the umpires. There is some unseen conspiracy being carried out against us here. We suspect the umpires and the match referee for that."

The club also asked that the points that were stripped from them on the basis of SLC's ruling be reinstated, meaning they would secure promotion to Tier A of the Premier League Tournament for next season.

It is for promotion-relegation purposes, in fact, that the result of match is suspected to have been manipulated. At no stage is money thought to have changed hands.