On Thursday, Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara went through a questioning session of nearly 10 hours by detectives probing explosive fixing allegations of the ICC WC 2011 final against India under his captaincy. Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Sri Lankan police summoned Sangakkar for examining the conduct of the final, which Sri Lanka lost to India at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
Talking about the same, Sangakkara said, “I came here to give a statement because of my responsibility to the game and respect for cricket. I hope at the end of this investigation, the truth about the allegations made by (former sports minister) Mahindananda Aluthgamage will come out.”
Former Sri Lankan skipper did not discuss the line of questioning by the SIU and they later informed that his deputy skipper, Mahela Jayawardena is expected to be questioned on Friday. The Sri Lankan opener, Upul Tharanga, was the first player to be questioned. He was interviewed by the SIU for a couple of hours on Wednesday, a day after the six-hour questioning of the former head of the selection committee Aravinda de Silva.
Sangakkara is the most high profile player to be questioned after match-fixing allegations for WC 2011 as he is also the current president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. Before turning up at the SIU on Thursday, he completely downplayed the accusations of Aluthgamage.
Last month on a local TV network, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said, “I feel I can talk about it now. I am not connecting players, but some sections were involved.”
After making a strong start, Sri Lanka lost the game against India in the final at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium by six wickets. Sri Lanka batted first and scored 6/274 off 50 overs helped by a brilliant century from Mahela Jayawardene. They immediately took the control of them after dismissing the batting legend Sachin Tendulkar for just 18, leaving the hosts 2/31.
But India made a dramatic comeback owing to match-winning knocks from MS Dhoni (91*) and Gautam Gambhir (97) but also poor cricket by Sri Lanka helped the hosts. Kumar Sangakkara had said Aluthgamage should share the proofs of his allegations with the ICC.
Earlier, there have been some corruption allegations on the Sri Lankan team, including claims of match-fixing ahead of a 2018 Test against England. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC) said the ICC has investigated three anonymous former cricketers over corruption allegations.
Match-fixing was made a criminal offense in November in the country and reports suggest that the ones who will be found guilty will receive huge fines up to 100 million rupees ($555,000) and up to 10 years jail.