Pitch tampering allegations ICC launches probe Pramodya calls for PCoI

The International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit has begun a probe into pitch tampering allegations revealed by fast bowler Lasith Malinga yesterday, Ceylon Today reliably learns.

The ICC investigator was at the Khettarama Stadium yesterday and was seen talking to some of the National Team members.

Malinga had charged that pitches were not prepared the way the team required during the last series.

Malinga said, the curators had cut the grass of pitches even when players requested to keep more grass and had given an excuse of using the wrong blade twice in recent matches.

Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara is set to appoint a committee to probe into the accusations.

The ICC representative is likely to be included in that committee.

The probe comes as former Test cricketer and ex-selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe urged President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to probe rumoured allegations that the One-Day series recently played against Zimbabwe had been “fixed.”

For the first time in history Sri Lanka lost a One-day series to bottom-ranked Zimbabwe earlier this year.

Thereafter India thrashed Sri Lanka in all nine games played in August –September.

In a press release issued yesterday Wickramasinghe suggested the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) should hold an inquiry into the way Sri Lanka Cricket utilizes public money.

The storm broke after Wickremesinghe made allegations against administrators and players in a television interview earlier in the week.

He said that some of the decisions made by the captain of the side and administrators were “strange and mysterious.”

He particularly referred to the fourth ODI which was played at Sooriyawewa and was won by the tourists on the Duckworth-Lewis method.

In response, some forty national players on contract signed a letter rejecting the allegations and called on SLC to conduct an inquiry. The letter was handed over to SLC by the two captains Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga on Friday.

Wickremesinghe charged that if we fail to address the allegations ‘we would be subjecting ourselves for investigations by the Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC.

He noted that he did not make any disparaging statement or expressed sentiments implicating the players of the Sri Lanka team to hurt their feelings.

“All what I did was to bring out the floating rumours and call for a proper inquiry by a competent authority to ensure that players have the proper environment to play the game in performing to the best of their ability.”

He added, “We all were disheartened when the cricket loving public reacted to the performance of the team by throwing bottles on to the field and it is my firm belief that we should not subject our players to the ridicule of the cricket loving public.

There is no doubt with regard to the ability and the talent of the current players in the Sri Lanka squad. I wish to clarify that a thorough investigation into matters of this magnitude would also help the players to have a clear mind in concentrating on the game without having distractions that hamper their ability to display their natural talent. “

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