Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has hit back at Mahindananda Aluthgamage, the ex-Sri Lanka Sports Minister, who served between 2010 and 2015, and accused the national team for ‘selling’ the 2011 World Cup final against India.
Two days after Aluthgamage had said the World Cup final was fixed but maintained that he would refrain from exposing the details for the sake of the country, former cricketers Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara – Sri Lanka’s captain from that tournament, demanded proof. However, the former Sports Minister later clarified that ‘he did not refer to any player’ in his serious allegation, leaving Jayawardene confused.
“When someone accuses that we sold the 2011 WC naturally it’s a big deal because we don’t know how one could fix a match and not be part of the playing 11? Hopefully we will get enlightened after 9 years,” the former batsman tweeted.
In an interview with Sirasa TV, Aluthgamage had said: “I tell you today that we [Sri Lanka team] sold the 2011 World Cup. I tell this with responsibility. I don’t want to divulge too much for the sake of the country… I say the match against India, the one we could have won, we betrayed.”
The statement created a stir all around, to an extent that Sri Lanka’s sports ministry ordered an investigation into Aluthgamage’s allegation with Sports Minister Dullas Alahapperuma asking for a report on its progress every two weeks. Jayawardene and Sangakkara immediately took exception to the allegations, with the former batsman tweeting: “Looks like the circus has started,” and Sangakkara pointing out that it is better to get down to the bottom of the matter rather than making such strong remarks.
Aluthgamage is the second person to allege that the final was fixed, after Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga felt the same in 2017 and demanded an investigation into the match. Jayawardene had scored a brilliant century for Sri Lanka to guide them to 274, and India in reply were reduced to 3/31 before Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir got the chase back on track. Gambhir and MS Dhoni then added 109 runs for fourth wicket and powered the chase.
“I was also in India giving commentaries at the time. When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt,” Ranatunga had said in 2017. “We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final. I cannot reveal everything now, but one day I will. There must be an inquiry.” (Hindustan Times)