London: In the wake of the allegations of match-fixing made by former captain Hashan Tillakaratne last month, Sri Lankan cricket officials will be watching the activities of their players closely during the ongoing England tour. Sri Lanka will play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a one-off Twenty20 game.
The Sri Lankan team manager, Anura Tennekoon, said he will keep a close eye on the players and protect them if they come across any suspicious elements.
"We have to protect the players from these stories from outside the team," Tennekoon was quoted as saying by a UK newspaper on Tuesday.
"We have to be very careful about who the players talk to. I have already sat down and talked to them about not doing anything untoward. I will be watching them very closely."
The steps taken by the management are seen as precautionary measures after Tillakaratne made startling revelations on the match-fixing menace, saying Sri Lankan cricketers are involved in match-fixing since 1991.
The cricketer-turned-politician has even promised to reveal names at an opportune time of the players involved in it.
Chief coach Stuart Law said his team will focus on playing good cricket throughout the tour rather than getting distracted by the off-field issues.
"We don`t want to discuss that (match-fixing allegations) now," Law said. "He (Tillakaratne) has made some allegations. He says he is going to name names. Let`s wait and see what he does. All we can do is play cricket," said Law after Sri Lanka won its opening tour match against Middlesex at Uxbridge.
Most experts are not giving a chance to Sri Lanka for winning against England without match-winners like Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga. But Law promised an exciting series between the two sides.
"We are not here to lose. We are not here to do things the English way. We are here to play cricket the way Sri Lanka play cricket. If we do that we will be successful," Law said."
The visitors are scheduled to play another warm-up game against England Lions from Thursday, ahead of the first Test starting May 26 at Cardiff.