Colombo: Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara has denied that he was approached by the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa to back him in the January 8 presidential election.
In a Facebook post in his official account, the former skipper said, "I was very surprised and disappointed to hear of a story being circulated regarding His Excellency the President offering me money to support his election campaign. I would like to categorically confirm at no time whatsoever have I been asked by the President in any manner to be a part of his political campaign.
"The allegation being circulated on social media claiming that I have been offered a financial incentive to support his election campaign is also completely untrue. These are just false stories concocted with malicious intent that are trying to use and abuse my name and I would like to request everyone to ignore them," he said.
Local news websites had reported Sangakkara, who is currently in New Zealand to play tomorrow's Test at Christchurch, had declined to endorse Rajapaksa in television commercials.
Sangakkara's comments came a day after his team-mate Tillakaratne Dilshan had joined Rajapaksa's campaign.
Dilshan appears in TV campaign advertisements of Rajapaksa.
The incumbent president faces a stiff challenge from the opposition unity candidate Maithripala Sirisena.