Sri Lanka cricket star accused of raping date had developed a ‘playboy lifestyle’

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The Sri Lankan cricket star charged with four counts of rape had ‘developed a playboy lifestyle’ and struggled with discipline on and off the field, it has been revealed. 

Danushka Gunathilaka’s history of suspensions by the Sri Lanka Cricket Board have come to light, as his lawyer told Daily Mail Australia the 31-year-old is struggling not being able to see team supporters as he was being moved out to Parklea prison in far western Sydney.

His lawyer Ananda Amaranath said he would try and visit the cricketer on Tuesday at the jail in Blacktown, 35km west of the luxury hotel where his manager and Cricket Board officials were still staying.

Gunathilaka was arrested at the hotel around 1am on Sunday, handcuffed and taken to the Surry Hills police cells and charged with raping a woman in Sydney’s eastern suburbs during the T20 World Cup.

The top-order batsman was then transferred to Parklea by prison van after his bail application was denied on Monday.

Police allege the 31-year-old committed four counts of sexual intercourse without consent on a 29-year-old woman at Rose Bay on November 2. 

Sri Lanka Cricket has suspended Gunathilaka since the charges were laid and he will remain behind bars at least until he applies again for bail, this time in the NSW Supreme Court, for which Mr Amaranath said he was yet to file the documents.  

Danushka Gunathilaka (pictured) was charged over the alleged rape of an Australian woman at a home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Danushka Gunathilaka, who has been moved to Parklea prison (above) in western Sydney while on remand for four rape allegations, had 'developed a party lifestyle' with discipline issues on and off the field

Danushka Gunathilaka, who has been moved to Parklea prison (above) in western Sydney while on remand for four rape allegations, had ‘developed a party lifestyle’ with discipline issues on and off the field

 It has emerged since his arrest and incarceration on remand that Gunathilaka was previously suspended by Sri Lanka in 2018 on a ‘misconduct’ charge after a close associate was arrested for sexual assault at the team’s hotel in Colombo.

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Sri Lankan police initially claimed a Norwegian woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in a hotel room by Sandeep Jude Selliah, 26, while his friend Gunathilaka was present.

‘He (Gunathilaka) has said he was asleep and was not aware of what had taken place between his friend and the Norwegian woman,’ the Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed police officer in a report back in 2018.

No charges against Selliah were laid, and there was no allegation against Gunathilaka, who at the time was Sri Lanka’s best-performing batsman on a tour by South Africa.

However Sri Lanka Cricket suspended him on a ‘misconduct’ charge, although allowed him to play in the match that was still underway at the time.

This followed a suspension the year before, when in October 2017 he missed training on one day, then turned up the next without his kit bag, earning him a six-game suspension later reduced, Nine newspapers reported.

It has been reported that Gunathilaka had developed a playboy cricketer’s lifestyle, without the ability.

Gunathilaka (above) has been moved to Parklea prison in western Sydney where on remand he may get access to a television in his cell to watch the final games of the T20World Cup

Gunathilaka (above) has been moved to Parklea prison in western Sydney where on remand he may get access to a television in his cell to watch the final games of the T20World Cup

‘He wasn’t a popular player with the public, but seems to be well-connected with Sri Lanka Cricket’. 

In 2018, Gunathilaka was handed a six-month ban by Sri Lanka Cricket after he broke the team curfew.

He later told ESPN India that he had been criticised for his lifestyle and ‘some people think I’m cocky, but I’m not’.

 ‘My lifestyle is different to some other Sri Lankan cricketers. But that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person,’ he said.

If I’m at a bar, and I’m with my friends, I’m just there to relax. If people see me there, they’ll think I’m drinking and partying and I can’t play cricket.

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‘I don’t have a private life. They’re always saying I’m going clubbing and what not. My lifestyle helps me relax.’ 

Last year, Gunathalika was suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket for 12 months after he breached his team’s bio-secure bubble during the Covid pandemic on tour in England, along with teammates Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella.  

Police granted a suppression order restricting access on what could be reported about the 31-year-old's alleged crimes, which will be reviewed during a hearing on Wednesday

Police granted a suppression order restricting access on what could be reported about the 31-year-old’s alleged crimes, which will be reviewed during a hearing on Wednesday

Danushka Gunathilaka (pictured) injured his hamstring but remained with the team for their T20 World Cup campaign Australia

Danushka Gunathilaka (pictured) injured his hamstring but remained with the team for their T20 World Cup campaign Australia

Gunathilaka’s game has been plagued by recurring injuries to his back and hamstring and this had caused him to miss Sri Lanka’s games in the T20 World Cup in Sydney.

The injured star was arrested last weekend as he and teammates were preparing to depart the country on Sunday after crashing out of the competition on Saturday.

Gunathilaka, whose lawyer said had no wife or children and lived at home with his parents in Colombo, unsuccessfully applied for bail in Downing Centre Local Court on Monday in a hearing that was closed to the public. 

Police had been granted a suppression order restricting access on what could be reported about the 31-year-old’s alleged crimes.

The suppression order will be the subject of a hearing in the Downing Centre on Wednesday. 

Gunathilaka appeared in court on Monday by audio-visual link from Surry Hills police station handcuffed and wearing a grey T-shirt with blue jeans. 

He has since relinquished his belongings for prison greens and runners. 

His lawyer Ananda Amaranath said the cricketer was disappointed his bail application had not been granted. 

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‘He’s holding on well considering the circumstances,’ Mr Amaranath said on Monday outside court.

‘But he has the full support of the Sri Lankan High Commission and the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, so he’s OK at the moment.’  

Gunathilaka's lawyer Ananda Amaranath said his client (depicted in a courtroom sketch) was disappointed bail was not granted, but that he was preparing to file documents for another application, in the NSW Supreme Court

Gunathilaka’s lawyer Ananda Amaranath said his client (depicted in a courtroom sketch) was disappointed bail was not granted, but that he was preparing to file documents for another application, in the NSW Supreme Court

Danusha Gunathilaka's lawyer says the top-order batsman (pictured) is 'holding on well' and has been transferred to Parklea prison in western Sydney

Danusha Gunathilaka’s lawyer says the top-order batsman (pictured) is ‘holding on well’ and has been transferred to Parklea prison in western Sydney

Mr Amaranath had previously said Gunathilaka would be ‘very worried’ if he could not get back to Sri Lanka because it could take a year or more for the case to be finalised. 

Gunathilaka has played eight Tests for Sri Lanka, as well as 47 one day internationals and 46 T20 games,  and despite not playing in the T20 World Cup had remained in Australia with his Sri Lankan teammates.

Sri Lanka finished fourth in group one with two wins and three losses, including a narrow defeat against England at the SCG on Saturday night.

England will face group two winner India in the semi-finals in Adelaide on Thursday.

New Zealand will play group 2 runner-up Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Reigning champions Australia won’t defend their T20 title after failing to progress past the group stage.

Gunathilaka should have access to a television in his prison cell and free-to-air coverage of the T20 semi-finals and the final at the MCG on November 13.

The top-order batsman had been suspended by the Sri  Lanka cricket board in the past for disciplinary issues such as breaching the team curfew and the bio-secure bubble during the  Covid pandemic

The top-order batsman had been suspended by the Sri  Lanka cricket board in the past for disciplinary issues such as breaching the team curfew and the bio-secure bubble during the  Covid pandemic

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