Sexual bribes that rocked Sri Lankan women’s cricket | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Sexual bribes that rocked Sri Lankan women’s cricket

11 September, 2022

In India where cases of rape are a common occurrence, there are also many allegations of sexual harassment and sexual bribes surrounding women’s cricket.

A decade ago, a player had accused an official of the Andhra Pradesh Cricket Board of soliciting a sexual bribe from her on the promise of selecting her for the team. The official was sacked and a complaint was also lodged with the Police while five players also took steps to meet the Andhra Pradesh internal affairs Minister Sabitha Reddy to raise their opposition against the incident.

In yet another incident, the coach of the Baroda Cricket Board, Atul Bedade was suspended and an investigation was ordered by the board after a number of players had made sexual harassment complaints against him.

All allegations were proven during the investigations and he was dismissed from the post.

The situation in Sri Lanka was no different. In late 2014, sexual bribe allegations that rocked the world also made ripple effects in Sri Lanka when several officials were accused of soliciting sexual bribes to select players for the national team.


An investigation was ordered by the then Minister of Sports on the allegations that players who had not provided the requested bribe were not chosen to play for the team.

Months later the revelations of the investigation were revealed. In the end, it claimed the players were not physically harmed, the soliciting had been misunderstood by the players and was merely a joke adding that the selection committee head was an elder to the female players who dispenses guidance and therefore making such allegations was unconscionable.

The investigation also claimed the managers and both coaches were of good character and only saw the players as their own sisters. “It is a crime to make such allegations against such honourable men,” it had said.

But according to former cricketers, many players found it difficult to remain in the team as they faced many forms of harassment. Some opted to leave while players who refused to give in to sexual bribe demands were forced out. Among such players are former cricketers Sandamali Dolawatta who is now residing in the West Indies and Chamani Seneviratne who lives in the United Arab Emirates.

Seneviratne said that many female cricketers were forced to give up the sport as they refused to accept the lewd suggestions of the coaches and due to their criticism of the selection committee over its undue influence.

Seneviratne left Sri Lanka nearly eight years ago. Seneviratne and Dolawatta both left the team together while yet another brilliant player Sripali Weerakkody left several years later. The three players had suffered the same fate.

The revelations made by Dolawatta at the time were published in the sister publication Dinamina back then.

Chamani Seneviratne

“This incident took place after a person who represented the Colts Cricket Club was appointed as the coach of the national cricket team. He carried out a campaign of harassment against me and another senior player for not accepting his suggestive proposals.

Both of us represented the Colts Club at the time. The same fate befell another talented player from the Colts Team. But many are afraid to reveal these incidents in the fear it will affect them and their careers negatively” she said.

“The said coach had discussed with the then head of the National Women’s Cricket Selection Committee as to who should be chosen for the team the next day while drinking alcohol the night before.

Lewd suggestions

Players who had refused his sexual advances were struck off from the team during such discussions held at nightclubs. The selection committee took decisions based on his claims. There were even instances where the same coach had made lewd suggestions to players while highly intoxicated during international tours. Though his training was of top quality, the same cannot be said of his character” she added.

However, this tragic situation changed several years ago. The current head coach of the Sri Lanka Women’s Cricket team is Hashan Thilakaratne. His wife Apsari Tillakaratne is the women’s cricket convener of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. National-level players are now emerging through the program to develop women’s cricket at rural level and to produce talented young players for the national team, an initiative that commenced a few years ago under her leadership.

Hashan Thilakaratne’s effort is to sharpen the skills of the female players who join the national squad through the foundation laid by the cricket board to improve the sporting future of such female players.

Many parties involved in the field of women’s cricket say that if the Cricket Board had not taken steps to appoint Hashan and Apsari, women’s cricket in Sri Lanka would have met with a tragic fate and fallen victims to unsavoury characters many years ago.