Former Sri Lanka Test player gets six-year ban for match-fixing

Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka's former Test cricketer and bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was banned for six years on Wednesday by the International Cricket Council for match-fixing during a T10 tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

The ban on the 42-year-old is backdated to October 2018 when he was suspended pending an investigation into his conduct at the inaugural Sharjah tournament in 2017.

"Contriving to fix a game betrays the basis of sporting principles," the ICC's anti-corruption chief Alex Marshall said. "It will not be tolerated in our sport.

"In his role as a national coach, he should have acted as a role model. Instead, he became involved with a corrupter and attempted to corrupt others."

There was no immediate comment from Zoysa, but he had expressed shock when the ICC initially announced in November that he had been found guilty.

"It is a fallacious and cheap gimmick by the ICC to perform such an act (of announcing guilt) intentionally to tarnish my reputation and the reputation of my beloved country," Zoysa told reporters in Colombo at the time.

His sanctioning came eight days after another former Sri Lankan bowler Dilhara Lokuhettige was banned for eight years for corruption during the same T10 tournament.

Both were found guilty after a two-year investigation.

The duo joins a growing list of Sri Lankan players to have been punished by the ICC for breaching its anti-corruption rules.

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

Zoysa was accused of agreeing to introduce players to an Indian national to arrange match-fixing and remains under investigation accused of further breaches of the anti-corruption code.

"Zoysa has also been charged by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with breaching three counts of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code for Participants for the T10 League and these proceedings are ongoing," added the ICC statement.

Sri Lanka introduced a law against match-fixing in 2019 after then-sports minister Harin Fernando declared that the ICC considered Sri Lanka the world's most corrupt cricket nation.

Zoysa played in 30 Tests and 95 one-day internationals before retiring in 2007.

Sri Lanka's former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya was banned for two years in October 2018 for failing to cooperate with a match-fixing inquiry.

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