The Investigative Unit from Al Jazeera exposed a number of individuals including three former cricketers, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Jeevantha Kulatunga and Hasan Raza directly associated and prepared to take money to fix matches.
All encounters and conversations were filmed by an undercover agent using secret cameras.
Moreover, the curator of the Galle International Stadium, Tharanga Indika was also exposed along with Tharindu Mendis a domestic cricketer agreeing and admitting to having doctored the wicket in the series against Australia in the year 2016. They were plotting another operation to doctor the pitch to yield an affirmative result when England tour Sri Lanka later this year.
Lokuhettige and Kulathunga allegedly agreed to carry out fixes in a fake tournament planned by Robin Morris, a match-fixer from Mumbai and Gaurav Rajkumar, his business partner from Dubai.
Morris and Gaurav’s proposed UAE league was set up solely for the purpose of match-fixing with at least five foreign players in each of the four teams. Soon after the UAE league, their plan was to move to Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, and eventually Sri Lanka, presumably to concentrate on the Lanka Premier League.
The 53-minute documentary also summoned a number of cricketers from England and Australia but didn’t disclose their names in the video clip. However, the two countries have denied all accusations and stood behind the players.
Sri Lanka Cricket reacts
Upon Sports Minister Faiszer Mustapha’s request, Sri Lanka cricket has decided to,
- Complain to the Criminal Investigations Department against the persons who have been allegedly involved in “Pitch Fixing” as reported in the Al Jazeera documentary.
- Suspend with immediate effect the alleged individuals involved in the said incident against whom ICC is carrying out investigations.
- Fully co-operate and offer all assistance to the ICC on its investigations on the said Al Jazeera documentary which has wider allegations globally.
- Appoint a 3-member committee consisting of Mohan de Silva, Air Commodore Roshan Biyanwila, and Channa Weerakkody to submit a report within 3 days, making recommendations on the existing protocols; applying to the Management and Staff of every venue and to implement safeguards to prevent occurrences of such incidents in the future.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket has also decided to appoint a foreign curator ahead of the home series against England in November 2018.
“We will appoint an independent curator to prepare pitches in future. The local groundsmen will work under him,” – SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala
However, the scandal has put the England tour to Sri Lanka in doubt. The upcoming tour is scheduled to kick off this October, where England is to play 5 ODIs, 3 test matches and 1 T20.
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