Sri Lankan officials have closed an investigation into the 2011 World Cup final, saying they found no evidence of match-fixing by the players.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s governing body, has said it has reviewed recent allegations and found no reason to doubt the transparency of the 2011 World Cup final due to a lack of evidence.
Former chief selector Aravinda de Silva, then-Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara and opening batsman Upul Tharanga were questioned this week over the allegations.
“We are satisfied with the explanation, now the inquiry is closed,” a senior police official told the International news agency AFP.
Just minutes before the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Sri Lanka made four changes to the squad for the semi-finals, much to the surprise of Sri Lankan fans and former cricketers.
Faiz Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who held the post of Sports Minister in 2011, had expressed doubts about the World Cup final last month, saying he had been accused of fixing.
The decision to end the police investigation was taken immediately after the vice-captain of the Sri Lankan team in the 2011 World Cup appeared before the Special Investigation Unit to make a statement.
Jayawardene appeared for a statement but the officers refused to accept his testimony, after which he told reporters that he would co-operate fully.
Sangakkara was summoned to give a statement after Jayawardene in a 10-hour inquiry into the matter on Thursday.
Former Sports Minister Faiz Mahindananda Aluthgamage is the second most important figure after captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who made Sri Lanka the world champions in 1996, who claimed the 2011 World Cup was fixed.
Then Sri Lankan Sports Minister Faiz Mahindananda Aluthgamage told local TV, “I am telling you today that we sold the 2011 World Cup final to India.”
“We were winning in 2011 but we sold the match. I think I can talk about it now. I’m not blaming the players but a few circles were involved,” the former sports minister said.
Earlier in 2017, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga also demanded an investigation into the defeat.
“When we lost, I was nervous and I was sceptical,” said Ranatunga, who commented on the 2011 World Cup final.
“We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final. I don’t want to say anything at the moment but I will say it one day so there must be an inquiry,” he said.
Note that Sri Lanka batted first in the World Cup final and scored 274 runs for the loss of 6 wickets thanks to Jayawardene’s century and the Indian team was in trouble when Sachin Tendulkar returned to the pavilion with only 18 runs.
However, thanks to Sri Lanka’s poor bowling and fielding, India changed the course of the match and India won the match to become world champions for the second time.
The toss of the match was also controversial as it happened twice. Match referee Jeff Crowe reportedly did not hear Heads from Sangakkara and asked Mahendra Singh Dhoni to toss the coin twice.
Sangakkara decided to bat first after winning the toss, which was criticized in the local media because the Sri Lankan team was better at chasing the target at that time.
Sri Lankan cricket has been plagued by various corruption and match-fixing scandals over the past decade, including allegations of match-fixing before the 2018 Test against England.
Note that Sri Lanka had declared match-fixing a crime in November last year and a person involved in this crime could be fined Rs 100 million and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.