Lasith Malinga was handed a one-year ban by a special executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket after the paceman pleaded guilty to a breach of contract by speaking to the media without the board's permission. The 33-year old will also be fined with 50 percent of his match fees from his next ODI.
Lasith Malinga appeared before Sri Lanka Cricket's inquiry panel yesterday and accepted the charges against him, whilst pleading guilty with a formal apology. A specially convened executive committee then imposed a "one-year suspension, suspended by six months (whereby the punishment would be imposed in the event of a similar infraction within the stipulated six-month period) and a 50 percent fine of his next ODI match fee," SLC said in a release.
The controversy had started after Sri Lankan sports minister, Dayasiri Jayasekara, questioned the fitness levels of the Sri Lankan cricket team that dropped two catches in their do or die league clash against Pakistan in Champions Trophy, which eventually resulted in their elimination. And Jayasekara, in particular, cited the "big bellies" of the Sri Lankan players as the reason for their poor fielding.
The criticism did not go down well with Malinga who then ridiculed the Sports Minister publicly, which was against the terms of his contract, that bars him from speaking to the media without the board's prior approval.
Malinga termed Jayasekara an "armchair critic" saying, "Even the best of fielders can drop catches. Those who are talking without any knowledge of the game can mutter that catches were dropped because players were not fit. But if you know the game, you see the best of fielders dropping catches. The armchair critics can say things, but when you are on the field, you have to take quick decisions and sometimes they go wrong. I don't have time to respond to people who are sitting on easy chairs and making allegations."
He further added that no one had questioned the fitness levels of the Sri Lankan players after they pulled off an upset over India, in the group stages of the tournament.