One of the cricket’s most explosive match-fixing controversies has once again come up as a former Sri-Lanka minister has said that country “sold” the 2011 World Cup final to India.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who was sports minister at the time, is the second senior figure to allege the final was fixed, after 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.
“I tell you today that we sold the 2011 World Cup finals,” Aluthgamage told Sirasa TV. “Even when I was sports minister I believed this.”
“In 2011, we were to win, but we sold the match. I feel I can talk about it now. I am not connecting players, but some sections were involved,” he said.
Sri Lanka lost the match at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium by six wickets. Indian players have strongly denied any wrongdoing. Ranatunga, who was at the stadium as a commentator, had called for an investigation into the defeat.
“When we lost, I was distressed and I had a doubt,” he said in July 2017. “We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final.”
“I cannot reveal everything now, but one day I will. There must be an inquiry,” added Ranatunga.
Sri Lanka batted first and scored 274/6 off 50 overs. They appeared in a commanding position after removing openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early.
But India turned the game dramatically after Gautam Gambhir and skipper MS Dhoni knitted a partnership. The duo was aided by poor fielding and bowling by Sri Lanka, who were led by Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lankan cricket has regularly been involved in corruption controversies, including claims of match-fixing ahead of a 2018 Test against England.
Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan cricket board said the International Cricket Council was investigating three unnamed former players over alleged corruption. Sri Lanka introduced tough penalties for match-fixing and tightened sports betting restrictions in November in a bid to stamp out graft.