Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga and his 1996 World Cup winning team-mate Aravinda de Silva on Tuesday denied the allegation made by former Sri Lanka Cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala that they had accepted $15,000 from an Indian bookie to throw games in 1994.
“We have never taken bribes and we have never fixed matches, Ranatunga told reporters in Colombo in the presence of de Silva. Both denied they had ever taken bribes to throw matches.”
Sumathipala had alleged that Ranatunga and de Silva were the first Sri Lankan players to have been charged of match fixing. He said he was blamed for hushing up investigations. “If I was someone to fix matches, why did he (Sumathipala) have me in his Cricket Committee?” asked De Silva, who had served the SLC under Sumathipala’s presidency in the past.
De Silva said he did not take the allegations seriously. Sumathipala had said de Silva had been paid $15,000 by an Indian bookmaker to lose the Lucknow Test of 1994. Sri Lanka lost the match by an innings and 119 runs.
“Not $15,000, but we could have made $15 million if we threw the World Cup,” Ranatunga said, adding they never played for money but were committed to the game and upholding the honour of the country.
Sumathipala was reviving a decades-old accusation. In 2001, both Ranatunga and de Silva were cleared of the fixing charges by a committee headed by legal luminary Desmond Fernando.