Cricket: Sri Lanka to cooperate with corruption probe

Sri Lanka’s cricket board Sunday asked all national players and its employees to cooperate fully with an ICC investigation following allegations by former players of match-fixing and other forms of corruption.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said its executive committee had directed players and staff to cooperate with investigators from the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council, which announced its investigation on Saturday.

“We request all those who have any information to come forward and help with this inquiry by declaring all their information and evidence…” it said in a statement.

The board said unsubstantiated allegations made by former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and ex-player and national selector Pramodya Wickremasinghe were “damaging the reputation of our players, our cricket and our nation”.

“We are committed to working closely with the ICC to complete this inquiry expeditiously and give our players the freedom to concentrate on playing their cricket,” the board said.

It did not say what exactly was being probed and whether a particular individual or group was being investigated.

The ICC announced the probe a day after SLC said that 40 contracted national team players had asked for an immediate inquiry into “shocking” allegations by Wickremasinghe.

Wickremasinghe, a former pace bowler and ex-national selector, told a local television station last week he was concerned about “unnatural match patterns” and player selections. He also blamed the SLC for the team’s poor performance.

The SLC maintained that players had refuted Wickremasinghe’s allegations as “totally baseless” and added that they performed for their “motherland… with a 200 percent commitment”.

Sri Lanka recently suffered the embarrassment of losing all nine international matches in a home campaign against India.

Virat Kohli’s visitors took the Test series 3-0 and then won a one-day international series 5-0 before triumphing in the lone Twenty20 international by seven wickets in Colombo earlier this month.

Wickremasinghe’s allegations are not the first to swirl around the Sri Lanka team.

In July former captain Ranatunga — who led the islanders to the 1996 World Cup title — demanded an inquiry into the team’s defeat by India in the 2011 final in Mumbai.

“When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt,” Ranatunga said in July.

“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.”

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