COLOMBO: Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews Wednesday promised “no mercy” for any team mates found guilty of misconduct during a disastrous tour of New Zealand after the sports minister raised allegations of drunken behaviour and squabbling.
Dayasiri Jayasekera said he had seen photos of national players at all-night drinking parties just before crucial matches against hosts New Zealand who achieved a virtual clean sweep in the just-ended tour.
Mathews, 28, said an official probe had begun into the allegations that players attended parties until 3 or 4am, and of tension within the team and with interim coach Jerome Jayaratne.
“I can’t deny or accept that these things happened,” Mathews told reporters at a post-tournament press conference in Colombo.
“But, I can promise that there will be no mercy for any member found guilty of misconduct.” He said the team could have done better and admitted the New Zealand tour was “demoralising”.
Sri Lankan spectators heckled the national team as it lost the final T20 match while social media sites showed footage of player Tillakaratne Dilshan engaging in an angry exchange with a spectator who asked him to retire.
“As players, we don’t play to lose and you get hurt when spectators say things like this,” Mathews said. “Fans are also hurt when we lose and you have to look at it from both ways.”
Sri Lanka went to New Zealand as defending champions of the shortest form of the game, but slipped to third position this month behind the West Indies and Australia after a resounding defeat in the T20 matches.
Sri Lanka also lost the Tests 0-2 and the one-day series 1-3 to the hosts.
The sports minister said Sri Lanka would also focus on finding a long-term coach after Marvan Atapattu quit weeks before his contract was due to expire in September last year.
Sri Lanka appointed Jayaratne as interim coach, initially for the home series against the West Indies and then for the New Zealand tour.
Jayaratne, 49, had been head of coaching at Sri Lanka Cricket but his elevation to oversee the national team was seen as a stop-gap arrangement.