It was only a matter of time before the #MeToo movement came knocking on the doors of the house of cricket. Call it weird coincidence, the first cricketers to be named and shamed for sexual harassment and assault are Sri Lankans. And they are, arguably, two legends of the game—Arjuna Ranatunga and Lasith Malinga.
While Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to the World Cup triumph in 1996 and is now the minister of petroleum resources development, Malinga has been one of the greatest bowlers, the tear-drop shaped nation has ever produced. He has also been an integral part of the IPL, playing for Mumbai Indians, becoming the leading wicket-taker across all seasons of the tournament—154 wickets in 110 matches.
However, reputations might go for a toss, if the allegations against the duo are proved. Indian playback singer Chinmayi Sripaada, today, tweeted a screenshot of a 'victim''s post, where the latter said she was sexually assaulted by a Sri Lankan player in his hotel room during the IPL, a few seasons ago. Though the woman did not name the player in her post, Chinmanyi tweeted it's Malinga.
The news comes a day after Ranatunga was called out by an Indian flight attendant for sexually harassing her at a hotel in Mumbai during one of his visits to India. This is what she wrote in her Facebook post:
“(sic) My star struck colleague spotted Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers in the elevator of Hotel Juhu Centaur, Mumbai and decided to meet them in their room for autographs. I decided to chaperone her, fearing for her safety, we were offered drinks (perhaps laced) I declined and stuck to my bottle of water I'd brought along . They were 7 and we 2, they latched the room door putting the chain secure. My discomfort growing inside of me, I urged her to get back to our room.
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"She was smitten and wanted to go for a stroll by the poolside, this was at 1900 hrs, the walk to the pool a desolate, unlit pathway at the back of the hotel, I look back to find (her friend) and the Indian cricketer nowhere in sight.
"Ranatunga grabs me by waist, sliding his hands along the side of my breasts, I scream fearing the worst, kicking on his legs and feet. Threatening him of dire consequences, passport cancellation, reporting it to the cops etc., for he is a Sri Lankan misbehaving with an Indian. Wasting no time, I dashed for the hotel reception a good run on an incline screaming on top of my voice. The reception said, "it is your private matter" and that they can't help me."
Both Ranatunga and Malinga are yet to respond to the allegations.