Colombo, Mar 2 : Sri Lanka vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene is considering taking legal action in response to a commentary that implied he and Thilan Samaraweera were guilty of match-fixing during the team’s 11 run loss to Pakistan.
Jayawardene said his lawyer was drafting a letter to “get to the bottom” of the accusation.
A state television broadcast suggested Jayawardene deliberately played badly for financial gain in Saturday’s Cricket World Cup defeat by Pakistan.
Sri Lankan state TV network ITN suggested Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera may have deliberately “changed the game” by getting out cheaply, and said the outcome would have been different had the pair scored more runs.
The comments, written by the editor of a state newspaper, Mahinda Abeysundara, said a businessman had bet 18,000 dollars on a Pakistan victory and that there had, therefore, been what he called a “chorus to change the game”, Fox Sports reports.
The commentator then remarked: “We just think Mahela and Thilan may have changed the game.”
The commentary was accompanied by slow-motion extracts from the match, sad music and blurry shots implying financial impropriety.
Sri Lanka, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament, fell short of Pakistan''s total of 7-277 by 11 runs on Saturday, leaving thousands at a packed R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo devastated.
Sri Lanka’s cricket authorities have denied allegations of match-fixing by two of their players in their World Cup defeat to Pakistan.
“It is with deep regret that we note that a leading television channel in a special programme, namely ‘Wimasuma’, has stated that Sri Lanka has lost against Pakistan due to two of our leading players not getting runs in that game,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a press release.
“SLC strongly condemns the bona fides of this anchor, who hosted the programme carrying a story that is baseless and thereby demoralising our players during the ongoing World Cup,” it said.
Jayawardene contributed 2 runs and Samaraweera 1 to Sri Lanka’s total of 9-266. (ANI)