By Amrit Muttukumaru –
This writer is at his wits’ end to unravel the following:
1) Mahindananda Aluthgamage was the Sports Minister at the time of the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final. Why did he not pursue his allegation of ‘match-fixing’ giving victory to India at the time he was sports minister?
2) Why has he now after 9 long years raised this issue?
3) Police media spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne now informs that the Sport Ministry’s Special Investigation Division has “halted” its “investigations” as the allegations have been “deemed baseless”.
4) Arjuna Ranatunga – 1996 Cricket World Cup winning captain, then Minister of Petroleum and Renewable Resources is quoted in ‘Daily Mirror’ of 14 July 2017 as stating (i) “I was on the panel of commentators during this World Cup final, and I was really disappointed with Sri Lanka’s performance.” (ii) “I cannot reveal what happened on that day, but I would someday reveal the truth. So, I think we should hold an inquiry into this matter,”
5) If the allegations were “deemed baseless”, what was the rationale for the captain of the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final team – Kumar Sangakkara to have given a “statement for over a nine-hours”? This is in the context of an ODI lasting only eight hours!
6) Kumar Sangakkara is one of the most knowledgeable persons on the subject of cricket. He is also a very articulate person. Should he not clarify what he was doing at the ‘Special Investigation’ for 9 hours?
7) If the allegations were “deemed baseless”, what was the rationale for the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee at that time – Aravinda de Silva to have given a 5-hour long statement?
8) AFP and NDTV on 18 June 2020 quote Mahindananda Aluthgamage has having told ‘Sirasa TV’ (i) “I tell you today that we sold the 2011 World Cup finals,” (ii) “Even when I was sports minister I believed this.” (iii) “In 2011, we were to win, but we sold the match. I feel I can talk about it now. I am not connecting players, but some sections were involved,”
9) How can Aluthgamage allege ‘match-fixing’ if he maintains “I am not connecting players”? Could any ‘match-fixing’ occur without the complicity of players?
10) The same AFP and NDTV report while stating that Aluthgamage “is the second senior figure to allege the final was fixed, after 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.” quotes Ranatunga as saying in July 2017 (i) “When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt,” (ii) “We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final.”
11) ‘Daily Mirror’ of 14 July 2017 quotes 1996 Cricket World Cup winning captain – Arjuna Ranatunga then Minister of Petroleum and Renewable Resources as stating (i) “If Mr. Sangakkara wants an inquiry into the tour of Pakistan then they should have one. But I think we should also inquire what happened to the Sri Lanka Team during the 2011 World Cup final. I think this is something that the Sports Minister should look into rather than concentrating on fitness issues,” (ii) “I was on the panel of commentators during this World Cup final, and I was really disappointed with Sri Lanka’s performance.” (iii) “I cannot reveal what happened on that day, but I would someday reveal the truth. So, I think we should hold an inquiry into this matter,”
12) Does not Arjuna Ranatunga at least hint on player complicity by allegedly stating “I was on the panel of commentators during this World Cup final, and I was really disappointed with Sri Lanka’s performance,”?
13) Should not Arjuna Ranatunga make good on his promise “I cannot reveal what happened on that day, but I would someday reveal the truth.” ?
14) Has not Aluthgamage given him an ‘opening’ to do so at least now? Will not Ranatunga forfeit any moral authority he has to seek votes at next month’s general election, if he fails to do so?
15) If not for its implications to the credibility of Sri Lanka where Arjuna Ranatunga was a senior cabinet minister and Cricket World Cup winning captain, it is amusing that Ranatunga is now reportedly urging Aluthgamage to ‘disclose evidence over his match fixing claims’ This was a person who said (i) “I was on the panel of commentators during this World Cup final’ (ii) “When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt”
16) As Alice cried in ‘Wonderland’ things are indeed getting “Curiouser and curiouser!”
17) An unrepentant Aluthgamage while confirming his allegation of ‘match-fixing’, has requested President Rajapaksa to set in motion a proper investigation. If a transparent investigation proves both Aluthgamage and Ranatunga wrong, should not both parties be held accountable?
Rajash / July 7, 2020
why is Gotabaya not setting up a Presidential Task Force-with one of the war criminals in charge of the PTF to investigate?
SarathP / July 7, 2020
Rex Clementine, of The Island newspaper, wrote that a chemical was applied to the grounds during the World Cup 2011 to reduce the dew. He also wrote that, during the final, an application was made between the innings, before SL was to field. The Sri Lankan fielders appeared lethargic, especially in the outfield. So, was a chemical used to induce the lethargy?
Simon / July 7, 2020
This 2011 “Cricket Game” has taken us back to our favorite game of “HORA POLICE”.
Rajash / July 7, 2020
Arjuna – why some day ? why not now?…what’s holding you from spilling the beans?
chiv / July 7, 2020
AM, for all your questions one simple answer is “we live in a country called Silly Lanka”. In a game of cricket there is only one winner and on that day it turned out to be India. Remember Sachin and Shewag were removed early for nothing, but heroics of Gambir and Dhoni saw them through. Arjuna is a great cricketer but after becoming a politician he is just acting as one. This is what politicians do for their survival (Sanga, Mahela are not politicians). What took 9 hours is Sanga had to give ball by ball commentary to those who were drunk during the match and missed out( blackout).Also remember ICC found the our administration corrupted and crooked , not the players. Mahindananda and Sumathipala are already convicted crooks and now proved liars. Prior to that there was rumors that Gilchrist was hiding something in his gloves when he smashed the ball to all corners of the ground. We lankans never run out of such excuses when we loose a game. Bottom line its tax payers money being wasted for such whimsical circus.
chiv / July 7, 2020
AM, all these players went on to prove they are not just great sportsman but gentleman too. They are not just appreciated by locals but by the whole cricketing world. Sanga (MCC President, ambassador,played county matches ), Mahela and Dhoni. Where as Mahindananda is the same crook and now a liar will continue to be a low life. One more interesting observation is Arjuna was not only a great cricketer, leader and spoke his mind in the field. But after turning into politics he has become one of them. Gautam Gambhir toois well known as a cricketer/leader (KKR) to be the same, (fearless and stood face to face with Aussies and Afridi) now that he has turned into politics , he does mince words.