Sri Lanka has ordered a criminal investigation into allegations the 2011 cricket World Cup final was “sold” to India, officials said Monday.
“A criminal investigation has begun,” KDS Ruwanchandra, the secretary to the sports ministry, said. “It is handled by the [police] independent Special Investigation Unit on sports-related offences.”
Former sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage claimed earlier this month that Sri Lanka sold the match to ensure an Indian victory. “I feel I can talk about it now. I am not connecting players, but some sections were involved,” Aluthgamage said.
The Lankans’ 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga has also cast doubt on the result and previously called for an investigation.
Local media reports said former skipper and chief selector for the 2011 finals, Aravinda de Silva, had been summoned for an interview with investigators on Tuesday. After starting strongly, Sri Lanka lost the final at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium by six wickets.
Sri Lanka batted first and scored 274/6 off 50 overs. They appeared in a commanding position when batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was out for 18. But India turned the game dramatically, thanks in part to poor fielding and bowling by Sri Lanka, who were led by Kumar Sangakkara. India’s chase was spearheaded by Gautam Gambhir (97) and skipper MS Dhoni (91*), who also walked away with the Player of the Match award.
Sangakkara had said Aluthgamage should share his allegations with the global governing body the International Cricket Council.
International cricket in Sri Lanka has previously been linked to corruption allegations, including claims of match-fixing ahead of a 2018 Test against England. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan cricket board said the ICC was investigating three unnamed ex-players over corruption claims.
Match-fixing was made a criminal offence in November. Offenders face fines of up to 100 million rupees ($555,000) and up to 10 years’ jail.