SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (JULY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (JULY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has come in for criticism from all corners after the International Cricket Council denied claims that he had lodged a complaint with the game’s governing body in 2011 that the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 was fixed. The ICC issued a statement hours after the Police department announced that they are dropping an ongoing investigations due to lack of evidence. Aluthgamage, who has a history of shooting from the hip, had claimed that he had evidence to prove that the closely contested 2011 final between India and Sri Lanka was fixed. Despite interrogating key members of the national cricket team and officials, the Police dropped the investigations as they did not suspect any foul play. The ICC meanwhile turned up the heat saying that they had nothing to feel suspect about the 2011 final won by India. “There is no record of any letter regarding this matter sent by the then Sri Lanka Sports Minister (Aluthgamage) to the ICC and senior ICC staff at the time have confirmed they have no recollection of receiving any such letter which would have led to an investigation. We have no reason to doubt the integrity of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final 2011,” the ICC said. Aluthgamage was Sports Minister for four more years after the World Cup final but did not initiate an inquiry and his claims nine years after one of cricket’s most successful tournament raised many eyebrows. Former captain Aravinda de Silva was questioned for seven hours while Kumar Sangakkara spent nine hours with the Police earlier this week during investigations. The former was the Chairman of Selectors in 2011 while the latter was captain. Another former captain Upul Tharanga, who opened batting in the 2011 campaign was also questioned. Mahela Jayawardene was slotted in to provide evidence today but by then Police had decided to abandon the investigations. The players were initially surprised by the allegations but supported the investigations and it all came back to square one Thursday night following Sangakkara’s explanations. Aluthgamgae had claimed that the changes made for the final after injury to Angelo Mathews and Muttiah Muralitharan were not approved by him. However, SLC had sought all approvals from the Minister of Sports before going ahead with changes. There was outrage after players were hauled up before Police with both government and opposition politicians condemning the move. (Daily Island, 4.7.2020)

The International Cricket Council has reiterated that the governing body has no doubt whatsoever that the there was foul play in the 2011 World Cup final in Bombay where Sri Lanka lost a close game to the hosts India. “I have no reason to suspect that final,” Alex Marshall the General Manager of the ICC Anti Corruption Unit said. There was pandemonium in Sri Lanka following sensational claims by former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage that Sri Lanka had ‘sold the final to India.’ The Minister had promised to provide evidence to back up his claims forcing the government to launch an inquiry. However, once the inquiry got underway, Aluthgamage kept changing his stance. Sri Lanka Police took statements from four former captains – Aravinda de Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene – and barely a week into the investigations decided to stop the inquiry due to lack of evidence. Aluthgamage has been defiant calling that the Police did not conduct a proper inquiry, but the fact of the matter is that after lengthy interrogations of players, the Police did not unearth any foul play or contradictory statements. What sealed the deal was confirmation from the ICC that the epic final of 2011 was clean as a whistle. Since then, Aluthgamage has been under the pump. The opposition has had a field day calling the government to take action against the prominent MP, who has found few friends even within the government ranks. Aluthgamage has a history of shooting from the hip and had earlier claimed that in 2011 he had informed the ICC that there was foul play in the final. The ICC then made it clear that in 2011 Aluthgamage made no such complaint. The preliminary pool, the World Cup squad and the subsequent changes had all been signed by Aluthgamage in his capacity as Sports Minister and his allegations nine years after the final raised many eyebrows. (Daily Island, 6.7.2020)

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