Colombo: Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne came out with startling revelations on Friday, saying that match-fixing was common in the nation’s cricketing circles from a long time.
“Why were four players changed for the final? If we don’t stop this, we will become like Pakistan,” he said. Tillakaratne alleged that fixing was being done since 1992 and promised to come out with names in the future.
"I can tell this in agreement with my conscience. Match fixing is not something that started happening yesterday or today. According to my knowledge, it happened since 1992. I say this with great responsibility"
"I am not saying that this match (The World Cup final) was fixed. But anyway match fixing is something which has been in this country over a period of time. This has spread like a cancer today" Tillakaratne said.
"There were threats of this issue being exposed during various times. But it was pushed down by giving money to various people. If the people who were responsible for that are listening to this, I state this today with great responsibility, I will shortly reveal the names of those responsible"
"This situation was always there. When it came out from time to time, it was quietly swept under the carpet. If someone doesn`t intervene and stop this menace, within another two-three years in this country, with these politics, with these corrupt administrators, I believe this country won`t be second to Pakistan in the near future" added the cricketer turned politician.
Tillakaratne was also circumspect about the extensive changes in the team for the final. "Why were four players changed for this match? Those are questions that should be asked. Arjuna (Ranatunga) spoke about this, we who have played cricket talk about this. We were playing an entirely different side"
"Why was Mendis removed to put another spinner, Kapugedara was never among runs but he was chosen to replace Chamara Silva. It is not fair, is it?" he questioned.
“Someone needs to stop this menace, there is a network, no one can go out of it,” Tillakaratne told reporters. He added that money was being paid to many players for being silent.
He was the Sri Lankan Test captain for duration of ten matches between 2003 and 2004.
However, the Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananada Aluthgamage dismissed the allegations saying they were untrue and were simply made by Hashan as he was an opposition MP in Sri Lanka.
Aluthgamage also said that Hashan should have proof before making such claims.