Why do famous sportsmen let you down so badly? Lance Armstrong was the ultimate role model for sportsmen with limitations as he won seven successive Tour de France titles after being diagnosed with cancer.

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His admission of using deceptives to evade drug detection shocked the sporting world. Hansie Cronje was such an iconic leader that he requested Cricket South Africa to stitch the emblem of the national flag on the left side of the team shirt – instead of the customary right- so that it could remain close to his heart! Not only was he caught match fixing but the King Commission heard how the South African captain used coloured players to achieve his objectives – the coloured were more vulnerable than the whites.

Marion Jones was the most celebrated female athlete in recent times having won triple gold medals at the Sydney Olympics (2000) but she cut a sorry figure after admitting to use performance enhancing drugs.

Chandimal’s appeal rejected; match referee’s earlier decision upheld

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal will miss the day/night Barbados Test, which commences on Saturday 23 June.

Sri Lanka’s Test captain Dinesh Chandimal is the latest to fall from grace after ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath suspended him for ball tampering. Chandimal has contested the charge, but video footage of him getting caught in the act is so pathetic to watch. Worse, his defence! Chandimal claimed that he had forgotten what he was swallowing.

One remembers the legendary words of Arjuna Ranatunga. When Shane Warne mocked the Sri Lankan captain for being overweight saying that his nemesis was looking as if he had swallowed a sheep or a goat, Ranatunga hit back saying that he would rather swallow a sheep or a goat than swallow what Warne had been swallowing and then blame his mum for it. Ranatunga was hinting at Warne’s drug ban and his subsequent excuse that his mother had presented him with a diuretic to appear good in a television show.

Chandimal rose to the rank of Sri Lanka’s 15th Test captain with sheer hard work having fought numerous battles with both the establishment and peers trying to undermine his career. Like Sanath Jayasuriya, he was the prime example where we could tell young people that if they try hard, there was nothing impossible. Sri Lankans would want to remember Chandimal as a hero who fought many odds to achieve the ultimate glory, not as a cheat.

Read: From ‘I didn’t do it’ to ‘I don’t remember’ – the ball-tampering saga

Last week in St. Lucia, in a bid to give his bowlers extra advantage, the Sri Lankan skipper adopted underarm tactics. The use of mints and sweets to aid team’s fast bowlers to gain reverse swing has been a practice that has been in use for sometime now. Those caught in the act have been doomed. Steve Smith’s Australians were caught using sand paper to roughen up the ball and Francois du Plessis adopted tactics similar to Chandimal two years ago.

All three were sanctioned by the ICC. Cricket Australia went the extra mile by handing the captain and two others harsher punishments. CA doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Chandimal faces a lengthy ban of at least three Test matches – one for ball tampering and two more for bringing the game into disrepute as he was charged for a more serious Level 3 offence of the ICC code. The second charge, laid by the ICC CEO was as a result of the trio of captain, manager and coach holding up play for two hours on the third day of the second Test at St. Lucia.

Sri Lanka captain, coach and manager admit to breaching Level 3 offence

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha have admitted…

In his first tour as captain, Chandimal achieved the unthinkable as Sri Lanka ended Pakistan’s unbeaten run in the UAE since the gulf region had become their adopted home of Pakistan in 2010. During the 2-0 series win over Pakistan, Chandimal led by example. In the scorching heat of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, his long vigils made the difference as Sri Lanka triumphed 2-0. Some of the finest captains of present day such as Michael Clarke and Graeme Smith, had tried and failed to beat Pakistan.

Having finished 2017 with over 1000 runs in the calendar year more was expected from the 28-year-old in 2018. He has had a brilliant series so far in the Caribbean having accumulated over 220 runs at 76. The ICC Judicial Commissioner could cut short his excellent year as he could miss the entire South Africa series as well apart from the Barbados Test.

The Sri Lankans came so close to winning at St. Lucia but rain ensured a draw. The tourists were kicking themselves for those two hours they wasted for flimsy reasons. Now all what they can do is to draw the series.

When Chandimal was booted out of the ODI side last year, many were those who expressed their disappointment. The most vociferous critic was Arjuna, whose son Dhayan’s career at Ananda College coincided with that of Chandimal.

Arjuna had  first seen Chandimal as a busy wicketkeeper at Ambalangoda representing Dharmasoka College against Ananda. Like he has done with most Sri Lankan players, the ex-captain took the young prodigy under his wings and Chandimal thrived at Ananda College having been granted a scholarship.

Read: Boxing Day game emotional for tsunami affected Dinesh Chandimal

Arjuna has kept a close eye on the progress of one of the brightest talents to emerge in recent times. He would be feeling the most disappointed after what happened in St. Lucia.

Since making a comeback to the ODI side earlier this year, Chandimal was set to regain his place with Sri Lanka forming the nucleus for the World Cup challenge in 2019. However, ban from South African Tests would mean that he would not have any form behind him to warrant a place in the ODI squad.

At the end of it all, people who backed Chandimal feel betrayed and let down. The same feeling fans had when the likes of Armstrong, Cronje and Jones fell from grace.

His reckless behaviour has tarnished the image of a proud sporting nation. The ball tampering scandal was the last thing that Sri Lankan cricket wanted at a time when things were looking bleak. Chandimal has done the crime and now he has to do the time.