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Sri Lankan bowling coach suspended over match fixing allegations

646   //    19 Jan 2016, 14:52 IST
Anusha Samaranayake has been suspended for two months

Sri Lanka’s bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake has been suspended over alleged attempts at bribing players to under-perform in a Test match against West Indies so as to ensure a surprise victory for the Caribbean side.

The Sri Lankan cricket board said in a statement that Samaranayake was suspended for two months after Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister ordered a probe into allegations of an attempt to create a batting collapse in the match in Galle last October.

The board also sacked a net bowler Gayan Vishwajith and slapped a lifetime ban on him from entering any cricket premises in the country over the same allegation.

The board statement said, “Sri Lanka Cricket has received several complaints regarding a close acquaintance of Anusha Samaranayake with the main suspect Gayan Vishwajith who had approached several national players for the alleged illegal activities of match-fixing.

“Pursuant to a preliminary inquiry conducted in this regard, Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to suspend Anusha Samaranayake for a period of two months until further investigations are concluded.”

Sri Lankan Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said last month that an unnamed man linked to a bookmaker had offered the two players some 10 million rupees (around $70,000) to lose the match.

Wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and senior spinner Rangana Herath have already recorded their statement to the Financial Crimes Investigation Department over an alleged offer of tens of thousands of dollars in return for a batting collapse.

Both the players refused the offer and Sri Lanka beat the tourists by an innings and six runs after Herath took 10 wickets. The West Indies, who have never won a Test match in Sri Lanka and went on to lose the two-match series 2-0.

Betting is illegal in most of the cricket-mad Indian subcontinent, but this kind of activity still flourishes. This is not the only case of match fixing or spot fixing in Sri Lankan cricket. Although no big-name has ever been convicted for corruption but several former stars have made allegations of either match fixing or spot fixing in the past.

Former skipper Hashan Tillakaratne dropped a bombshell in May 2011 when he claimed he had been an eye-witness to match-fixing by fellow players since 1992. Though he never disclosed any names.

Two Sri Lankan umpires were banned in 2013 after an Indian television station claimed they were willing to make favorable decisions during matches in lieu of money.

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