Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lanka skipper, demanded an investigation into the country’s 2011 World Cup final defeat by India amid allegations of match-fixing on Friday (July 14).
Ranatunga, 53, in a video posted on his Facebook page, said he was shocked by Sri Lanka’s six-wicket defeat in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
“I was also in India giving commentaries at the time. When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt,” said Ranatunga. “We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final.
“I cannot reveal everything now, but one day I will. There must be an inquiry.”
Without giving names, Ranatunga said players could not hide the “dirt” with their clean white cricket clothing.
Sri Lanka, batting first, scored 274 for 6 off 50 overs and appeared in a commanding position when Sachin Tendulkar was caught for 18, shortly after Virender Sehwag had been trapped in front. India turned the game dramatically, thanks partly to poor fielding and bowling by Sri Lanka.
Local media have raised suspicions of Sri Lankans throwing the match, but there was no formal call for an investigation till Ranatunga’s outburst.
Thamira Manju, who is Ranatunga’s spokesman, told AFP that he was writing to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe complaining about the state of cricket in the country.
There have been recriminations in the country since Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating 3-2 loss to bottom-ranked Zimbabwe in a five-match One-Day International series on home soil this month.
Last year, the International Cricket Council imposed a three-year ban on Jayananda Warnaweera, a top Sri Lankan official, for failing to cooperate with an anti-corruption investigation.
Warnaweera, a former Test player who was facing a two-year domestic ban over allegations of involvement in match-fixing, failed to attend interviews with an ICC anti-corruption unit.
Sri Lankan players and umpires have been accused of match-fixing in the past, but Warnaweera was the first high-ranking official to be found guilty and penalised.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board suspended a fast bowling coach and sacked a part-time employee for their alleged roles in approach to two Sri Lankan players to arrange a defeat by West Indies at Galle in October 2015.
An unnamed man linked to a bookmaker had offered the two players some Rs 10 million (around $US 70,000) to lose the match.
Betting is illegal in most of the Indian subcontinent, but backstreet bookmakers — many with underworld links — still flourish.
Although no big-name Sri Lankan player has ever been convicted of corruption, several former stars have made allegations of match-fixing or spot-fixing — when players deliberately bowl or field badly to give away a set number of runs.