Never alleged 2011 World Cup final was fixed, says Arjuna Ranatunga
After stirring controversy with his remarks on the 2011 World Cup final, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has clarified that his comments were misrepresented in the media and that never made match-fixing allegations in relation to the final.
Speaking to journalists in Colombo, the 53-year-old said that he didn't intend to take the credit away from India -- who had beaten Sri Lanka to lift the World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai -- but was merely pointing at the 'issues' pertaining to the match, which in his opinion, 'the whole world saw.'
"When it comes to the 2011 World Cup final, I never said I was concerned about match-fixing. I said there were issues, address the issues. It is not my issues, the entire country saw it. I am not taking the credit away from India at all," he said.
"I can remember when I was seated with all the captains before the tournament, I said my heart says Sri Lanka but India has the best side.
"But unfortunately, the way we approached that game and some of the things that happened in the final, I was not comfortable. So I said, these are the things the ICC should get into. I never said match-fixing."
In July, Ranatunga had stirred controversy by stating that he would reveal 'the truth' about the 2011 World Cup final someday and that the Sri Lanka authorities should look into what happened on the night of the final.
"The ministers who are talking now need to make sure their actions speak louder than their words. The time has come now for these players to confess on what happened and the investigations to be done," he had said at the time.
"I cannot reveal what happened on that day, but I would someday reveal the truth with proof. So, I think we should hold an inquiry into this matter. I was on the panel of commentators during this World Cup final, and I was really disappointed with Sri Lanka’s performance."
His comments had invited immediate backlash from present and former India cricketers with Gautam Gambhir and Ashish Nehra -- both a part of the team that won the World Cup -- leading the way.
While Gambhir had demanded proofs to substantiate such an allegation, Nehra had refrained from commenting saying that he didn't wish to 'dignify' Ranatunga's comments by airing his views on the issue.
"I am surprised by Arjuna Ranatunga's allegations. These are serious comments by a very respectable voice in international cricket. I think to clear the air, he should back his claims with proofs," Gambhir had responded a day after Ranatunga made the comments.
With all of what transpired thereafter, Ranatunga seems to have dug a hole for himself with plain allegations -- be it of fixing or otherwise -- as he is yet to reveal what the issue was, let alone backing his claims with proofs.
On being asked if he had voiced his concerns to the ICC, Ranatunga said he didn't "because he wasn't directly involved with cricket." Why did he make the comments in the first place, if the same logic has to be applied, is the question to be asked.
"No, because I am not directly involved in cricket, I didn’t want to get into details. I was doing commentary in India and I was seated with Kapil (Dev) during the final, and we all had a lot of answers," Ranatunga said.
"And that’s the reason I said these are the things not only the ICC but even our sports ministry should look into because when things are bad, you have to stop the rot straightaway, get rid of the cancer or it will spread into the entire system."