Lankan leaves Australian club cricket team

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Jeewan De Silva has sensationally left Newcomb & District, fleeing the country following a bitter pay dispute and Visa issues.

The Dinos’ captain-coach has returned to his native home of Sri Lanka, meaning the struggling Division 2 club without a mentor for the remainder of the season.

The Geelong Cricket Association has intervened, vowing to investigate the circumstances surrounding De Silva’s controversial departure.

GCA president Barry McFarlane confirmed he had been in talks with Newcomb & District in the wake of the incident and said the association would consider its options.

Dinos president Marcus Pearson has been left fuming, with De Silva failing to arrive in Australia until early December — almost three months late — and jetting home without informing the club.

McFarlane was also frustrated to learn of De Silva’s hasty exit.

“I didn’t even know he’d walked out on them until I spoke to Marcus yesterday,” McFarlane said.

But De Silva said he was forced to leave the country due to immigration issues after pay disputes left him short of money.

Asked if the GCA would prevent De Silva from returning to the association, McFarlane replied: “We’ll be in touch with Newcomb & District to find out as much detail as we can”.

It’s not the first time De Silva has been involved in controversy.

Back in 2014 when he played for Guild Saints, the star all-rounder missed several matches at the start of the season due to Visa issues.

De Silva also arrived late last season, leaving the Dinos without a coach for the pre-season.

He did not arrive until Round 7 this season, lining up in the match against Bell Post Hill on December 9, and played just five matches.

Pearson said the relationship with De Silva soured over payments.

“He was meant to be here on the first of October and he wasn’t, so we withheld 10 per cent of his pay,” Pearson said.

“He wanted all of his money upfront and you’ve got to be crazy to do that. Under his contract he was supposed to attend club functions and all training sessions and he didn’t.

“He missed the first six games and I was frustrated. I was almost at the point where I said to him ‘don’t worry about coming’.

“He played four games, then he just left the country and sent me an email. And we’ve been told he’s signed with another club for next season.

“This just isn’t about us, this is a warning for every other club.”

Pearson said the club had forked out $4000 to jet De Silva to Australia and provided him with a rental property free of charge.

They also agreed to an undisclosed amount of money for coaching the club.

In an email to the Geelong Advertiser, De Silva disputed claims he had walked out on the club, claiming he was forced home by the Department of Immigration due to a lack of money.

He also claims the club was responsible for his late arrival, blaming Pearson for a botched Visa application.

“I have done (a) perfect job for Newcomb as a captain-coach and the club has treated me and my family very bad (sic),” De Silva said.

“Firstly they wanted to cut my contracted money because of late come (sic). That’s not my issue.

“After I arrived with my family, including my wife and two kids (the club said they) will pay half (my) contract money, but (it) didn’t happen.

“You can clearly see the fact why we have left the country.

“I have been to Australia 11 times under same arrangement, I (have) never done anything wrong but this is absolutely terrible by Newcomb (& District) CC.” (Courtesy Geelong Advertiser)

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