BAN vs SL: Wanindu Hasaranga’s Return To Test Cricket Exposes ICC Loophole Exploited By Sri Lanka Board

BAN vs SL: Wanindu Hasaranga’s Return To Test Cricket Exposes ICC Loophole Exploited By Sri Lanka Board

Wanindu Hasaranga cannot play the Test series against Bangladesh as he has been suspended by the ICC for breaching the Code of Conduct during the third ODI against the same team in the recently concluded series.

Hrishikesh DamodarUpdated: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 03:51 PM IST
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Wanindu Hasaranga | Credits: Twitter

Sri Lanka spin bowling all-rounder pulled off a big surprise by returning to Test Cricket for the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh, slated to take place on March 22. The major development came when the Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee announced a 17-member squad by Dhananjaya de Silva for two Tests against hosts Bangladesh.

Hasaranga’s name in the squad surprised the fans as there wasn’t a hint of him returning to the longest format of the game after calling it quits from Tests in August last year to focus on white-ball and franchise cricket. The 26-year-old played his last match in whites against Bangladesh in Pallekale in April 2021.

However, Wanindu Hasaranga cannot play the Test series against Bangladesh as he has been suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for breaching the Code of Conduct during the third ODI against the same team in the recently concluded series.

About Hasaranga’s suspension by ICC

Spin-bowling all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga was found guilty by ICC for showing dissent towards the on-field umpire’s decision during the third ODI against Bangladesh. The 26-year-old snatched his cap from an umpire and mocked the umpiring in the match. This resulted in a 50% fine from the match fee and received three demerit points because of the incident.

Total demerit points accumulated to 8 as Hasaranga already had five demerit points after an incident in the third T20I against Afghanistan last month and was suspended for two T20Is of the three-match series against Bangladesh, which Sri Lanka won 2-1.

By adding three more demerit points to Wanindu Hasaranga’s total accumulated in the 24-month period, the Sri Lankan all-rounder has now breached the eight-demerit-point benchmark, resulting in a four-match suspension. 

Has Hasaranga’s Test return exposed ICC loopholes?

Wanindu Hasaranga's return to Test cricket might have surprised many but there is a big twist. It was a strategic move by Sri Lanka Cricket to add Hasaranga to the Test squad. Spin-bowling all-rounder’s return to Tests has a connection with his four-match suspension by ICC after breaching a threshold of eight demerit points.

Many wouldn’t have expected Hasaranga to return to Tests after he decided to call it quits from the format last year. But, his comeback exposed loopholes in ICC rule, providing an advantage to Sri Lanka. The four-point suspension equates to being banned from two Tests or four T20Is or ODIs.

After being added to the Test squad for the Bangladesh series by the Sri Lanka Cricket selection committee, Wanindu Hasaranga can serve a two-Test ban instead of a four-match ban in ODIs or T20Is. Hasaranga returning to Test cricket is not just a strategic move but an important decision for the benefit of Sri Lanka cricket as it ensures his availability for all the matches in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024, slated to take place in June.

Wanindu Hasaranga is likely to retire from Tests again after serving two matches ban in the series against Bangladesh and will shift his focus towards white-ball cricket.

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