Arjuna, Aravinda deny Thilanga’s match-fixing allegations

Published : 9:00 am  August 1, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Aravinda de Silva (right) stressing a point to the media with Arjuna Ranatunga looking on 
Pic by Damith Wickramasingha

 

Former National Cricket Captains Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva yesterday hit back at allegations made by Thilanga Sumathipala, that the World Cup winning duo were the first Sri Lankan cricketers to accept bribes to fix matches, claiming that Sumathipala himself had offered to help clear their names of an wrongdoing when an International Cricket Council (ICC) inquiry was initiated in 2000. 


Both players were the subjects of a local and international inquiry in November 2000, after their names appeared in an Indian Central Bureau of Investigation report into match-fixing and related malpractises. 


The report claimed that Ranatunga and de Silva had accepted bribes from an Indian bookie named Mukesh Gupta, to fix a Test match in India in 1994, also suggesting that de Silva had been paid US $15,000.
Ranatunga said that when the ICC inquiry was initiated, Sumathipala had offered his and Sri Lanka Cricket’s (then the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka) support to clear their names. 


“There was an allegation about us regarding a Test in 1994 in Lucknow, India. The ICC conducted an inquiry, and Desmond Fernando PC also conducted a local inquiry. Those inquiries acquitted us from any charges and the entire country knows that. I don’t know why these charges are being brought up again,” Ranatunga said. 


“Sumathipala was the President of SLC then and he said that the board would make representations and clear our names. However, we said we would employ our own personal lawyers and we faced the inquiry, and were subsequently cleared,” Ranatunga said.


Both players denied knowing an individual by the name of ‘Gupta’, and de Silva said that he reported approaches from suspicious individuals even though he had no responsibility to. 


“I don’t know anyone by the name of ‘Gupta’. As cricketers we met so many people that it is difficult to remember each and every person we meet, so people can claim to have met us,” de Silva said. 


“There were approaches that we brought to the notice of the management even though at that time we had no responsibility, unlike cricketers do now, to report approaches,” de Silva said. 


Ranatunga and Sumathipala have long been at odds, especially in regard to the latter’s most recent stint administrating SLC, but de Silva has had a seemingly more amicable relationship with Sumathipala having served under him in as Chairman of the Cricket Advisory Committee. 


De Silva said he would consider working with Sumathipala again, despite these claims, as he was more concerned about the game than those administrating it. 


“Whoever it is, even if it’s Thilanga Sumathipala, I have always said that I will work to help Sri Lankan cricket. It is my duty because I am where I am because of cricket.” 


Sumathipala had made these allegations when he appeared on a television programme on Sunday.

 


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