Sri Lanka Cricket slams Ranatunga in corruption row
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Cricket hit back at legendary captain Arjuna Ranatunga for casting a corruption shadow over the 2011 World Cup exit and questioned his actions as a player.
The outgoing President of Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala, said Ranatunga should have followed the right protocol instead of publicly raising doubts and casting aspersions on the integrity of the 2011 skipper Kumar Sanagakkara and his deputy Mahela Jayawardene.
Ranatunga on Wednesday repeated his allegation from last year that he believed the 2011 final when India beat Sri Lanka was tainted. He said he was not pointing fingers at Sri Lankan or Indian players, but the match should be subjected to an anti-corruption investigation.
Sumathipala said Ranatunga’s own conduct when he failed to defend Sri Lanka’s World Cup in 1999 could also be questioned, but he would not do it publicly.
"He could not come to the final round in 1999… We lost badly in some matches… People were also saying at that time ‘don’t know whether this man has thrown the match’,” Sumathipala said.
Sumathipala and Ranatunga are bitter foes and both want to control the board. Ranatunga’s younger brother Nishantha is standing against Sumathipala for the board presidency. The Court of Appeal on Wednesday suspended the vote which was due to be held on Thursday.
Some local media had raised suspicions of Sri Lankans throwing the 2011 final, but there was no formal call for an investigation until Ranatunga made an outburst last year which he repeated on Wednesday.
Sumathipala said Ranatunga was suggesting that 2011 captain Sangakkara and his deputy Mahela Jayawardene had thrown the match.
"Why is he trying to drag them into this seven years after the match," Sumathipala said. "What are we implicating. We are implying that Sanga and Mahela have thrown the match. Its not fair. Sanga and Mahela have done so much for world cricket and they are respectable people in the eyes of the public."
Sri Lanka scored 274-6 and appeared in a commanding position when Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar was caught for 18. But India turned the game dramatically, thanks partly to poor fielding and bowling by Sri Lanka.
Ranatunga also said in his latest outburst that corruption in Sri Lankan cricket "goes right to the top". The country is again at the centre of allegations made in an Al-Jazeera documentary last weekend.
"I deny any involvement… Nobody in the executive committee or the management of this board is up to mischief or any malpractice," Sumathipala said.
The board has suspended three employees implicated by the documentary that alleged that a Sri Lankan player and groundsman had agreed to tamper with the pitch at the Galle International Stadium to force an outcome in the November Sri Lanka Vs England Test there. (COLOMBO, May 31, 2018)