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Lankan probe a blow to cricket's credibility

Bikram Vohra
Filed on July 4, 2020
Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's former cricket captain

(Agencies)

Because it is scandal, it will always have customers but in the bargain you destroy reputations and rob the victors of their spoils.

A raging forest fire is caused by rubbing two flints together or throwing a cigarette butt carelessly on dry tinder. Similarly, a small item in the news about Kumar Sangakkara, a former Sri Lanka cricket captain being summoned to the board to register his statement on a prickly pear of an issue, can snowball into a controversy. Did Sri Lanka fix its loss to India in the 2011 World Cup even though the performances were impressive? After a re-toss because the match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear the first Sangakkara call courtesy the din in the throng, the Lions scored 274. India responded with 277 for 4, with both Gambhir and Dhoni going into their nineties.

Now, nine years later there is a bit of a pong coming from the island nation and it has the potential to become a huge stinker. This was the victory wrapped and ribboned as Tendulkar's farewell gift and to have this triumph tarnished now is a pity. While Aravinda D'Silva, then the Chairman of the selection committee for that tournament has been grilled for six hours by the Special Investigative Division of Sri Lanka's Sports Ministry the summoning of someone of the stature of Kumar Sangakkara, the skipper, changes the complexion of the probe entirely. Suddenly, there is the sliver of doubt introduced into the proceedings and made more sinister by pointing fingers at unknown vested interest and parties.

That the accusation of it being a sweet set up comes from former Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage mandates the probe be carried out.

It has to be recalled that this gentleman was sports minister at the time of the finals. If this cheating occurred on his watch why has it taken him nine years to call for such an inquiry? The trail, by now is cold and dead in the water, why rake it up unless you have concrete evidence to indict character because that is what you do by inference. You muddy the waters. And because it is scandal, it is easy to sell, will always have customers but in the bargain you destroy reputations and rob the victors of their spoils.

It is so easy to equate Wankhede, India, Sachin's desire as elements in this mix so there must have been some skullduggery to guarantee the victory. Into this ugliness the Indian players are also affected because now they are told they were allowed to win.

By that very token it must be so difficult to surrender to greed when wearing your nation's colours and going for the big one. Do not downplay the majesty and glory and honour that make it nigh impossible to even consider letting the side, the flag and nation down. Besides yourself.

Should the probe not have been conducted then when things were hot? There should be a statute of limitations on this sort of investigation. It leaves a bad taste and even though it is in-house at present and no other body has a say in it, the Sri Lankan board should really think long and hard before letting this fox into the henhouse. Yes, feathers will fly and with cricket already crippled by Covid. A rift between the Lankans and the Indians over something like that, which will change nothing in the record books, is there really any point in hurting people? -bikram@khaleejtimes.com

 


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