Sri Lanka's Lokuhettige banned eight years for corruption

Colombo (AFP) –


World cricket's governing body on Monday banned former Sri Lanka fast bowler Dilhara Lokuhettige for eight years for corruption.

The 40-year-old, who played nine one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals for Sri Lanka between 2005 and 2013, joins a growing list of Sri Lankan players to have been punished by the International Cricket Council.

The ICC found Lokuhettige guilty on three counts in January after a two-year investigation, and added that the ban had been toughened because he refused to cooperate.

Lokuhettige was accused of being a "party to an effort to fix" or "influence improperly" a game during a T10 tournament in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

He was also found guilty of "directly soliciting and inducing a player" and failing to disclose approaches to take part in corruption.

Lokuhettige featured in an Al Jazeera documentary in 2018 when he spoke to an undercover reporter about fixing a game.

The ICC said the ban had been backdated to April 2019, when the player was provisionally suspended.

ICC anti-corruption chief Alex Marshall said: "The severity of the sanction reflects the seriousness of his offences and his continued refusal to cooperate and should serve as a deterrent for anyone considering getting involved in corruption of any kind."

In November, another Sri Lankan, Nuwan Zoysa, was found guilty of three counts of corruption relating to the same T10 tournament, but is yet to be sanctioned.

Sri Lanka has faced mounting scrutiny in recent years over cricket corruption.

The country's former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya was banned from all cricket for two years in February 2019 after admitting two breaches of the anti-corruption code.

A former sports minister, Harin Fernando, introduced tough anti-corruption laws in 2019 after saying that the ICC considered Sri Lanka the most corrupt cricketing nation.