Lasith Malinga

Get fit or get out: SL government

Government delivers ultimatum to national men's team amid fallout from criticism of pace ace Lasith Malinga

The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday warned the national men's cricket team to get fit in three months or get booted out.

The ultimatum came after the squad was found to be unfit for the series against Zimbabwe which starts Friday.

"No one has a satisfactory level of fitness, but I have made an exception this time," sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said.

Players are selected by an independent panel for the national team, but the sports minister must give final approval before they can represent the country.

Jayasekera said no member of the 13-man squad met required international fitness standards and noted that high levels of injuries were due to poor endurance.

Controversial fast bowler Lasith Malinga was slapped with a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee for Friday's game and given a six-month suspended match-ban for comparing Jayasekera to a "monkey" and saying the minister knew nothing about cricket.

Quick Single: Malinga fined, banned but free to play

The Sri Lankan board held an inquiry after Malinga publicly lambasted Jayasekera who had said many players were too fat following their failure to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals earlier this month.

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The typical body fat amount for a cricketer was 16 percent, but most Sri Lankan players had over 26 per cent, Jayasekera said.

He has warned any player with a body fat percentage of more than 16 will not be allowed to represent the country.

Sri Lanka Cricket announced Tuesday that Malinga had apologised and also pleaded guilty to violating his contract with the board which precludes players from making public statements.

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