Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Two former Sri Lanka players have been suspended after they were allegedly seen in Al Jazeera’s documentary on corruption in the sport.
The duo – Jeevantha Kulatunga and Tharindu Mendis – are among the three ex-Sri Lanka players that were allegedly speaking to a fixer and an Al Jazeera journalist posing as a prospective bettor.
Kulatunga represented Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals and had been the coach of the women’s team until 2014.
Mendis had a lengthy first-class career and is a coach in Gampaha district.
The third former player allegedly implicated in the documentary is Dilhara Lokuhettige, who featured in nine ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed that the trio have been suspended since the documentary – “Cricket’s Match Fixers” – was released.
“The names we learned about as a result of this documentary – we suspended them immediately,” SLC vice-president Mohan de Silva was quoted as saying by . “It’s our duty to protect the game, and we want to reiterate that we have a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption. We will look at our processes and improve them to ensure there is no leeway.”
Kulatunga is supposedly shown in a room with other people who are allegedly talking about fixing matches.
“Playing cricket for us is like brushing our teeth in the morning,” Kulatunga is shown to be saying. “But playing according to your plan is the easiest thing because there’s no pressure for us.”
As for Mendis, he allegedly appeared in a different part of the documentary that investigated pitch-fixing.
Lokuhettige, meanwhile, is supposedly shown in the same room as Kulatunga. However, since he lives in Australia and is not an employee of SLC, the board cannot take action against him, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva revealed.
Meanwhile, Tharanga Indika, the assistant manager at Galle Stadium who was allegedly involved in the pitch-fixing claims, has been suspended as well.
It is alleged that pitch-fixing occurred in Australia’s Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2016 and India’s Test match against Sri Lanka at the same venue last year.
It is understood that instructions were given to prepare a batting-friendly surface for the Test against India and a spin-friendly pitch for the Test against Australia.