Pak-SL Test series: Sri Lanka asks ICC to probe match-fixing claims

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s cricket board said Wednesday it had invited the sport’s world governing body to investigate match-fixing allegations stemming from Pakistan’s July tour of the island nation.

The move comes weeks after opposition lawmaker Nalin Bandara claimed in parliament that the two-match Test series, drawn 1-1, had been fixed.

The board asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption chief Alex Marshall to visit Sri Lanka and investigate the accusation, which it said had caused “immense reputational damage”.

Sri Lanka Cricket was committed to the game’s integrity and believed an ICC probe was “the correct course of action to take in light of the recent allegations,” a board statement said.

Corruption allegations and infighting have plagued Sri Lanka’s national cricket team over the years.

Former sports minister Harin Fernando has said the ICC considered Sri Lanka one of the world’s most corrupt nations under its purview.

One of his predecessors, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, told parliament last year that match-fixing was rife in Sri Lanka.

The series against Pakistan was played at Galle during the height of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis this year, which saw months of political unrest, power cuts, and nationwide fuel shortages.

Shah Abdul Mohi adds: A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official stated that the PCB could not comment on something that was being investigated by the SL Board and linked to the host nation’s cricketers.

The Sri Lanka cricket board has invited Alex Marshall, the general manager of the ICC anti-corruption unit, to investigate opposition leader Nalin Bandara’s allegation of match-fixing during the July Test series.

Based on the newly-discovered allegations, the PCB official denied any contact with the SL Board or the ICC.

“No one — neither the ICC nor has the Sri Lanka Board — approached us on the recent allegations made by one of the opposition leaders regarding the 1-1 drawn Test series between the two countries. So unless and until we are being approached, we are not in a position to say anything,” a PCB official, when contacted, said.

The official maintained that ICC Anti-Corruption Unit officials always keep a close watch on international matches these days. “The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit always keeps a close check on all international matches. They were there in Sri Lanka during the July series, nothing happened, and no eyebrow was raised. If the Sri Lanka Board wants to investigate their players, they are free to do that. The PCB has nothing to do with it as it has something to do with SL cricketers. We will only react if the SL Board or ICC approaches us. So far there is no such thing.”