Former Sri Lanka Cricket boss accuses Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva of match-fixing
What's the story?
Cricket in Sri Lanka seems to be going through troubling times. Over the past couple of months, news coming out from the cricketing fraternity in the Island Nation, are collectively threatening to tarnish the image of the game as a whole.
If the latest reports are to be believed, Thilanga Sumathipala, former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Board President has produced the latest controversial scoop, making the allegation that Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva, both former cricketing legends from the country and also the winners of the 1996 World Cup, were the first players from the country to be named for match-fixing.
In case you didn't know...
The first reports that surfaced pointed fingers at illegal pitch doctoring, next came Sri Lanka cricketer Dinesh Chandimal's ban from international cricket due to accusations of ball tampering during the overseas tour of the Windies.
In July, there came the news of more players - namely Jeffrey Vandersay and Dhanushka Gunathilaka, also being banned due to breaching the players' code of conduct, by not participating in training and involving themselves in night-outs and the like. Gunathilaka's doing also includes knowledge of an alleged sexual assault carried out by his acquaintance, on a tourist Norwegian woman.
Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva are probably two of the greatest players that Sri Lanka has ever produced, each of them playing significant roles as their team emerged winners at the end of a whirlwind finish at the World Cup of 1996. de Silva was even adjudged player of the final, having returned with figures of 3/42 while bowling first against Australia and then returning with 107 not out while successfully chasing the Aussie target of 241. Ranatunga was the captain of the team and the man truly at the helm, when it came to taking some outstanding decisions.
The heart of the matter
While speaking to news reporters from the north-central town of Anuradhapura, Sumathipala reportedly said, “Arjuna and Aravinda were the names mentioned, they were alleged to have taken $15,000 from someone named Gupta,”. However, these are just allegations so far, and everything is yet to be investigated and proved.
There could be some mischief behind the timing of this allegation as Sumathipala and Ranatunga have a long-standing public feud, the latter being a Government minister right now. Ranatunga has previously accused Sumathipala's family of having links with bookies and match-fixers, and had pointed fingers at him as the reason when asked about corrupt management of the game under the SLC.
His brother Nishantha had also filed a court case and obtained the verdict of holding off the May 30 elections of the SLC to an indefinite date in the future, citing corruption allegations. Sumathipala was all set to be re-elected into SLC's President post then, and has since received stiff competition from Nishantha.
Although it is still unclear as to why he named Aravinda de Silva along with Ranatunga as part of the fixing allegation.
The Minister of Sports has appointed a Competent Authority to run the SLC while elections are being delayed. If at all an investigation will take place with regards to the latest allegation against the star players, it will happen only once the proper elections are held and the rightful winners take hold of their positions in the board.