By Harsha Amarasinghe
As the former Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage was on Wednesday summoned to record a statement before the independent committee that launched a special investigation over the staggering match-fixing allegations made by him recently, the Ministry of Sports says that there is a possibility of summoning any ex-player for questioning.
“Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has given a statement to the committee investigating this issue, and obviously none of that detail could be revealed as it is an ongoing investigation,” a top official from the Ministry of Sports claimed.
When answering a question raised by Daily Mirror over the possibility of former players such as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardane being called in for the investigation, the source claimed, “if the names of these players are mentioned somewhere in the statements given by former Minister of Sports, they could indeed be called in.”
Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has given a statement to the committee investigating this issue, and obviously none of that detail could be revealed as it is an ongoing investigation
In the controversial statement the former Sports Minister said: “The 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed. I stand by what I say. It took place when I was the Minister of Sports. However, I do not wish to expose details for the sake of the country. The game against India in 2011, the game we could have won, was fixed. I say this with responsibility and I can come forward for a debate. The people are concerned about it. I would not involve the cricketers in this.”
Ex-cricketers led by former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene struck back at the allegations immediately via social media.
“Is the elections around the corner. Looks like the circus has started names and evidence?” Jayawardane stated on social media to which Kumar Sangakkara added; “He needs to take his “evidence” to the ICC and the Anti corruption and Security Unit so the claims can be investigated thoroughly.”
Jayawardene, on social media, hit back at Thilanga Sumathipala over a statement he had given to the local media earlier this week.
“If the players are not involved in match fixing - why are they worried about it? If you have not done any wrong you should not wear the hat” Sumathipala told the media, to which Mahela responded with a tweet saying: “I am sorry next time we will check with him before reacting and wearing the hats since he has vast experience on the subject matter.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Selector of Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad in 2011 Aravinda de Silva also claimed that he ‘will not remain silent anymore,’ after Aluthgamage later claimed that he was stunned by the number of changes Sri Lanka made for the final.
“This is a joke. If you look at it properly, we did not make four changes. Angelo Mathews was injured, so we had to make some changes and balance the squad. When you make a decision about the team, you have the captain, vice captain, team secretary, senior players, coach and at times even the physio involved. It is a collective decision. He (Mahindananda) has to tell who is involved specifically. There is an anti-corruption unit, so you take your evidence. I don’t know what made him wait for nine years. I thought to myself today that we will not remain silent anymore,” de Silva said in a television interview and when pushed by the interviewer on whether he was forced to make certain decisions by the former minister, de Silva said “I will reveal all that during an inquiry.”