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Despite corruption probe by ICC, Sanath Jayasuriya attends Sri Lanka-England Test

Cricket administrators’ zero tolerance for the corrupt or those suspected of corruption is being severely tested. It has emerged that former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, who has been charged by the International Cricket Council of failing to co-operate with an investigation and "concealing, tampering with or destroying evidence", has been attending the ongoing Test between England and Sri Lanka at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. 

On Tuesday, Jayasuriya attended the first day of the Test, along with some other big names of Sri Lanka cricket like Arjuna Ranatunga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumara Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan, who had gathered to witness the last Test of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. 

He was there at the stadium on Wednesday too and was spotted with his former opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana, sitting in a Sri Lanka Cricket hospitality box. The red-carpet welcome to Jayasuriya seemed absurd, given the nature of charges against him leveled by the ICC on October 15. Jayasuriya had 15 days to respond to them. 

According to an ICC statement issued on that day: 

“Mr Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lanka Cricket Chair of Selectors, has been charged with the following offences under the Code: 

“Article 2.4.6 – Failure or refusal, without compelling justification, to co-operate with any investigation carried out by the ACU, including failure to provide accurately and completely any information and/or documentation requested by the ACU as part of such investigation. 

“Article 2.4.7 – Obstructing or delaying any investigation that may be carried out by the ACU, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant to that investigation and/or that may be evidence or may lead to the discovery of evidence of corrupt conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code. Mr Jayasuriya has 14 days from 15 October 2018 to respond to the charges.” 

According to sources, Jayasuriya has replied to the notice. The sources also claim that the ICC’s anti-corruption unit is looking into a match involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in July 2017. This was a time when Jayasuriya was the chairman of selectors. 

A day after the ICC charges, Jayasuriya, via a press release, denied any wrong doing. He said he has always conducted himself with integrity and transparency with matters concerning the sport and that the charges laid upon him do not contain any allegations pertaining to match fixing, pitch fixing or any other similar corrupt activity. 

It is believed that at this point of time the authorities have no problem about Jayasuriya attending the game as he is not banned. They are calling it more of a matter of ethics than law as according to them it’s not a breach of any law. Shockingly, the TV commentators also had no moral or ethical issues as they discussed about the Jayasuriya- Kaluwitharana partners exploits on live TV and made no mention of the ICC investigation.

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England cricketers’ humble behaviour impresses all in Sri Lanka

England’s fortunes in the ODIs have seen a sharp turnaround since their unceremonious exit from the 2015 World Cup. However, it’s not only their performance on the ground which has won hearts but also off it. The latest recognition of the Englishmen’s humble behaviour has come from none other than Charith Senanayake, the team manager of Sri Lanka, the country they are touring at the moment.

England, currently ranked No.1 in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ODI table, have won 14 of their last 18 bilateral ODI series and are looking favourites to lift their maiden World Cup title at home in May-July next year. They have already won the five-match ODI series against the Asians with a match to go.

English cricketers’ decency impresses all“Absolutely amazing to see them big lads…..calling even the most Jr hotel staff member Sir…..,” Senanayake was quoted by Kashmir Times as saying over the telephone from Kandy.

“The English boys may look good with their performances on field. Perhaps their off field conduct, even better. It is just my general observation. What I have observed the last 2 weeks. How polite, well mannered and gentlemanly way the English cricketers and their support staff go about. They are easy going, no hang ups, no arrogance. A happy bunch of solid lads. It is a good laugh and pleasure to be around them. Absolute gentleman and ambassador for England. England should be proud of them,” the Lankan team official said.

Senanayake also called the England players “perfect ambassadors” for their country. “Respect and salute them,” he was further said.

England took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-game series after winning the rain-hit fourth ODI by 18 runs in the Duckworth-Lewis method. All the three games that the visitors won have been hit by rain while the first one was washed away in the downpour. Led by Eoin Morgan, England won the second ODI by 31 runs and third ODI by 7 wickets.

England recently defeated India 2-1 in the ODI series and 4-1 in the Test series before leaving for the Sri Lankan tour.

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Herath becomes third bowler to take 100 wickets at a single ground in farewell Test match

Rangana Herath became only the third player in the history of Test cricket to take a century of wickets at a single ground.

The spinner got his 100th wicket at Galle in his farewell Test appearance when England captain Joe Root came down the wicket and was bowled.

Joe Root’s England side had a shaky start after another batting collapse but Ben Foakes’s partnerships with Sam Curran, Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid steadied the ship.  

Foakes starred on the opening day of the first Test with an unbeaten 87 on his debut as England reached 321-8 at the close of play.

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England blame decision to play Sri Lanka during monsoon season on packed schedule

With more storms expected over the weekend the weather could play another large part in this series as the Sri Lankan monsoon threatens the second one-day international in Dambulla.

England have explained the decision to tour Sri Lanka in the wet season by blaming the packed international schedule which forces some series to be played during out of season months. 

Ideally England would start this tour in November but Sri Lanka are due to start their own tour in New Zealand on Dec 7 before going on to Australia and South Africa. 

The players do not want to be away for Christmas, there was talk of a Boxing Day Test in Barbados at one point this summer, which pushes the West Indies tour into January leaving no more room in the schedule to play Sri Lanka.

Originally it was planned for the Test series against Sri Lanka to be played now but was switched to the one-dayers first at the request of the home team. It forced Eoin Morgan to change the date of his wedding and is why Liam Plunkett is missing the first three matches to get married in America having been unable to postpone. 

The monsoon should lift by the end of the month and the heavy showers in the Dambulla region were localised on Wednesday with the area around the ground badly hit but other parts left dry. There was no rain on Thursday so the first ODI could have been finished if there had been a reserve day put in the schedule. There is a reserve day for the second ODI this weekend and the last in Colombo on Oct 23.

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Unsettled England plot to ruin Rangana Herath farewell

Many a visiting team have succumbed to the trial by spin in Sri Lanka and Joe Root's England will have to step up their game against the turning ball to escape that fate in the test series beginning at Galle on Tuesday. Sri Lanka have never shied away from milking their home advantage and the team, who have lost only one of their past six test series at home, are unlikely to do anything different against an unsettled England.

The three-test series promises a familiar sight, with Sri Lanka's wily spinners to bowl tirelessly and often in tandem, preying on the technique and temperament of the touring batsmen on tracks where the fast bowlers will play cameos.

leading Sri Lanka's charge, for one last time, will be a bulky 40-year-old with a golden arm and creaky knees as Rangana Herath ends his illustrious career at the same Galle where he made his test debut 19 years ago.

Herath has carried Sri Lanka's spin burden on his shoulders since Muttiah Muralitharan's exit but the left-arm spinner has decided he cannot carry on.

He will retire after his 93rd test, having already established himself as the most successful left-arm spinner in test history with 430 scalps.

Sri Lankan cricket of late has been a microcosm of the politically riven country, and Dinesh Chandimal's team will have to find ways to focus on the game amid turmoil off-field.

Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya and bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa are battling anti-corruption charges, while Sri Lanka Cricket chief financial officer Wimal Nandika Dissanayake has been remanded in custody by police for suspected financial misappropriation.

In comparison, England's problem is to identify the best combination, especially the selections of their number three and wicketkeeper.
With Keaton Jennings set to open with the uncapped Rory Burns, Joe Denly was primed for the number three slot, but the 32-year-old's struggle in the warm-up matches has jeopardised his test debut.

With wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow recovering from an ankle injury, Jos Buttler is set to play but it could be purely as a batsman, with Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes donning the keeper's gloves.

"It's probably the likely scenario (that Buttler plays)," Root told the BBC last week.

"But the reason we called Ben up is he's a high-quality wicketkeeper and gives us another way to balance the side up. It's a nice position to be in."

Kandy hosts the second test from Nov. 14 and the final match is in Colombo from Nov 23.

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Buddika and Pushpakumara shine at the Asian Para Games

Charitha Nirmala Buddika and Lal Pushpakumara added to Sri Lanka’s medal tally as the fifth day of the Asian Para Games continued at Jakarta yesterday.

Buddika won the third gold for Sri Lanka in the Men’s Long Jump T42/T61/T63 with a leap of 5.37 meters with Indian Vijay Kumar winning the silver with 5.05 meters. Mulyono Mulyono from Indonesia took the bronze with 4.89 meters.

Lal Pushpakumara won the bronze in the Men’s High Jump T64/44 category with a height of 1.76m. Uzbekistan's Giyazov Temurbek who cleared 1.95 meters claimed the gold and Suzuki Toru won the silver medal with a leap of 1.89 meters.

Sri Lanka has three gold medals, four sliver medals and three bronze medals so far securing fourteenth place in the medals tally.

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Sri Lanka's bowling coach suspended over match fixing allegations 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday suspended Sri Lanka's bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa after accusing him of match-fixing and other "corrupt conduct" in the sport.

"Mr Zoysa has 14 days from 1 November 2018 to respond to the charges," the ICC said in a brief statement.

Zoysa is charged, among other things, for "being party to an effort to fix or contrive or to otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect of an International match", the statement said.

It gave no further details.

Forty-year-old Zoysa is the second Sri Lankan to be charged by the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU).

Earlier this month, dashing former batsman, ex-chief selector and former captain Sanath Jayasuriya was charged for failing to cooperate with a match-fixing probe and concealing information.

Jayasuriya, 49, was reportedly asked to cooperate with an inquiry from ACU chief Alex Marshall who visited Sri Lanka last month.

The ACU is acting further on their previous investigation which in January 2016 saw Galle stadium curator Jayananda Warnaweera banned for three years after he failed to cooperate with the ACU.

ACU head Marshall last month said: "There is currently an ICC (ACU) investigation under way in Sri Lanka. Naturally as part of this we are talking to a number of people."

It was not immediately clear if the charges against Zoysa and Jayasuriya relate to the same case or if they are being investigated separately.
Sri Lanka has recently sought help from neighbouring India to drafting laws to combat cheating in the game.

Colombo has also promised to establish a special police unit to investigate match-fixing after a documentary aired in May showed Galle groundsman Tharanga Indika and professional cricketer Tharindu Mendis allegedly talking about doctoring the pitch for the Test against England starting 6 November.

Indika and Mendis have been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket pending an ICC investigation. A third man, provincial coach Jeevantha Kulatunga, was also suspended.

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Match-fixing could become criminal offence in India and Sri Lanka 

Match-fixing could become a criminal offence in India and Sri Lanka for the first time if pressure by the International Cricket Council (ICC) persuades governments to legislate against corruption.

Cricket’s anti-corruption unit are currently in Sri Lanka to lobby the government to make match fixing a criminal offence as they investigate cases of corruption on the island.

Alex Marshall, the chairman of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, met with the country’s prime minister and president last week. Telegraph Sport understands he is due for further meetings with government officials later this month and politicians have offered more resources for fighting corruption as several serious investigations reach a crucial point. 

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Pressure by the International Cricket Council may persuade governments to legislate against corruption Credit: AFP

Some of those are in Sri Lanka, another is in Hong Kong, where the ICC announced on Monday three players had been charged with 19 counts of breaching the anti-corruption code including offences linked to a game against Scotland and at the 2016 World Twenty20 in India.

The ICC are hoping that by making match fixing, and also approaching players to fix, criminal offences in Sri Lanka they can bring greater powers of investigation to bear while potential prison sentences would deter would be corrupters. They hope to have similar discussions with Indian officials and believe other countries will follow suit if Sri Lanka takes the first step.

Match fixing is a criminal offence in Australia and South Africa under specific sports laws. In the UK courts use the bribery act which is how Mervin Westfield and the three Pakistan players were sentenced but there is no criminal offence for match fixing anywhere in the sub-continent so there is not the same police support the ICC would receive elsewhere in the world. 

With police help the ICC believe they can make life difficult for fixers in other ways such as examination of bank accounts, tax returns, visa status for overseas travel and freezing of assets.

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Cricket is extremely popular in Sri Lanka Credit: Action Images 

The ACU is also set to make more widespread use the charge of failing to support an investigation so if suspected fixers, either players or officials, do not hand over mobile phones or other computer records they will face punishment and the public shame of being associated and banned for involvement in corruption. 

Sri Lankan cricket is in a state of paralysis at the moment with board elections on hold with three groups trying to take over. An interim board was appointed by the ICC in February to run the game in the meantime. 

Former president Thilanga Sumathipala is standing again but his application was opposed in court by a rival alleging he has links with bookmaking. His father is a bookmaker and he has admitted this publicly in the past.

In the meantime, the ICC are investigating fixing allegations in Sri Lanka and believe enlisting government help will make their job easier. It is believed the whole system needs cleaning up with Sri Lanka domestic cricket seen as the vulnerable point when fixers can get their claws into young players. With the Sri Lanka national team struggling, the negative publicity of any match fixing investigation, and potential subsequent public backlash, could force the government to look as if it is making a stand by making it a criminal offence.

The ICC investigations in Sri Lanka are separate to the Al Jazeera documentary aired earlier this year which alleged the pitch for the first Test against England next month in Galle could be doctored by fixers. A man who was described as the groundsman has been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket based on evidence in the programme and England have been assured the pitch preparation will be closely monitored. They were briefed by ACSU officials on Sunday night in Dambulla. 

Marshall, the former chief constable of Hampshire police, took over as chairman of the ACU last year and has  launched several major investigations around the world as cricket looks to take on fixing and react to the threats  spread by the springing up of Twenty20 leagues around the world. 

The ICC has long feared the players from associate nations are more susceptible for approaches from fixers and charged three from Hong Kong  yesterday. Fast bowler Irfan Ahmed has been charged with nine offences linked to games against Scotland and Canada in January 2014,  a match against Zimbabwe in 2014 and at ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in July 2015 as well as  one charge of “seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept a bribe or other Reward to fix or contrive or otherwise improperly influence the result,” of a match at the World Twenty20 tournament in 2016. He was banned for two years for breaching the anti corruption code in 2016.

His brother, Nadeem Ahmed, when played against India in the Asia Cup last month, was charged with five offences covering the same time period as was Haseeb Amjad.

(Telegraph)

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Sri Lanka Cricket sacks booze supplier for England tour

Sri Lanka Cricket on Thursday sacked its food and beverage supplier for selling booze without a licence during England's tour of the island, sparking a mid-match raid by tax agents.

The decision followed revelations that tax officers seized bottles of whisky and wine being served to England fans during the fifth one-day international match in Colombo.

The island's cricket board said its hospitality partner, Classic Destination, did not obtain the necessary licences to serve hard liquor at the ground.

"As the firm has failed to act within the law... and bringing disrepute to Sri Lanka Cricket, SLC decided to immediately terminate Classic Destination from delivering further hospitality services during the England tour," the board said in a statement on Thursday.

There was no immediate comment from the company.

It was not the first controversy of the series, with England fans complaining of being charged more than local fans for the same tickets.
Sri Lanka Cricket said entry fees were the same for foreign and local supporters.

But its hospitality partner, Classic Destination, bundled food and drinks together with grandstand seats in packages selling for 20 500 rupees ($120).

British media described the arrangement as a "rip off".

England fans, known as the Barmy Army, asked Sri Lankan cricket authorities to lower charges, but authorities said prices for the tickets was the same for all, so they could not be lowered.

England won the ODI series 3-1.

A one-off T20 is due on Saturday.

Three Test matches will begin on November 6 with the final match due to end on November

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Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara on Angelo Mathews, Asia Cup and sledging

Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara is a former captain of the national team and is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper batsmen of all-time, scoring 12,400 runs in his 134 Tests at an impressive average of 57.40. He also took 182 catches and 20 stumpings.

Sangakkara spoke exclusively to Sport360 in Dubai earlier this week and opened up about Sri Lanka’s poor performance in the recently completed Asia Cup, the Angelo Mathews saga and how sledging has got out of hand in the modern game.

Q: Sri Lanka performed very badly in the Asia Cup and were eliminated in the group stages after humbling losses to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It’s just six months out from the World Cup, is it time to hit the panic button?

A: I empathise with the team. I’ve been there. I’ve lost to sides that we shouldn’t have lost to. And I understand exactly how they feel. But I’m very pragmatic about it, I’m realistic. They played very bad cricket.

They looked confused during the tournament, with an unsettled air around the team and that hasn’t helped them. That’s been the case for a while now.

So how do you fix the current situation?

Leave aside the emotion, be very rational and clinical in your decision making – you need to evaluate very quickly as to what’s going wrong. Whether it’s the strategy: if it’s the strategy then you need to select players who can execute that strategy.

Then you examine team culture, you examine consistency of selection and then you put those things right.Clear, honest face-to-face one-on-one communication is essential to build trust and having a settled squad that have clear roles identified for them and are given a clear run.

That will improve self-confidence of players and they will trust the system better, the performances will be more consistent and results will then come.

The issue is we’re only six months to the next World Cup. So we need to do these things quickly and I hope they get that done.

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Angelo Mathews has been made to step down from captaincy of Sri Lanka 

I think this breakdown of communication needs to be sorted quickly.

It needs to be sorted through direct, honest and clear conversations between captain, the management and the player concerned. They need to make sure, also, that the public has the right idea of why this decision has been taken, especially at an emotional time.

What they have to be careful is that it’s not a knee-jerk reaction to the team’s performance at the Asia Cup, but it’s actually a worthwhile decision for the side. But I really think that with Chandika Hathurusingha’s strategy, Angelo will find himself back in the side very soon.

Angelo’s performances in the past suggest that he’s a player of great value to the side. I think it’s very important to get Angelo bowling again.

I think it does his confidence a lot of good. It does the Sri Lankan side a lot of good. And whoever is captain – whether it’s Angelo or Dinesh Chandimal – it gives them a lot of options to use a multi-skilled cricketer in different situations. All of that is going to be absolutely vital to their chances at the World Cup.

In stark contrast Bangladesh had a superb tournament, surprising Pakistan in the Super Four to reach the final where they were beaten on the last ball by heavyweights India. Have they now gone past Sri Lanka in the ODI pecking order?

I don’t think Bangladesh has risen above Sri Lanka in terms of ability, talent and quality – they’ve outperformed us in this particular tournament. Going back a few months (January) we beat Bangladesh in the final of the Tri-series one day tournament (in Bangladesh).

I think the difference between the two sides is that Bangladesh are settled. The core group of Bangladesh hardly ever changes: Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza.

They’ve been around for years, they never change their core, so it’s a consistent side knowing their roles performing day in day out, playing day in day out.

So it becomes easier to have consistent performances and more good days than bad.
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Kumar Sangakkara in action for Surrey in 2016 

As a senior player how do you now see your role in the game in relation to young players coming through?

To look after, to mentor, to really be an example on the field, but also talk about the core values of cricket. Because one of the things about cricket is it’s based on fair play, on team spirit, playing fair but playing hard, about integrity.

How to have a positive lifestyle on and off the field, there’s a lot of aspects and thoughts and ideas that will be exchanged.

Apart from all that – the grounding – (you need to) play good cricket on the field so these young players can see skill at its best.

There has been a lot of talk of late about indiscipline on the field giving cricket a bad name. Is the game getting too competitive?

It’s hard to define in professional sport whether competition is healthy or not. It just depends on how you as a player, play within the defined rules of the game, (together) with your personal belief system is in terms of your philosophy on the game and in life in general. So it’s a huge balancing act, and the pressures are immense, mistakes happen.

But you know there’s been a concerted effort by players around the world and franchise leagues have actually helped to have better understanding between countries, between players who actually are rivals elsewhere but are team-mates in tournaments like the IPL.
Does that help with better relations on the field of play?

It really helps to gives you a better balanced perspective on how to play this game, how to interact with people and how to be competitive on the field and display your skills.

To play as hard as you can to win for your country but at the same time have healthy relationships while doing it and friendships that are formed on the cricket field lasting for many years between players from different backgrounds and countries are inspirational.

Sportsmen and sportswomen are naturally competitive and that’s healthy for having a great show on that field.

Spectators enjoy watching a keenly contested competition and the players enjoy playing for something because everyone seems to keep score, but the spirit in which you do it is important.
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Ugly scenes in Durban as David Warner confronted Quinton de Kock in the grand stand. 

It’s disappointing how sledging has got out of control in the game recently, for example how things boiled over in Durban earlier this year in the Test between South Africa and Australia. How do you bring that back under control?

I just think that you can’t define a line because it’s all relative. Being offensive or taking offense is a relative thing. Things that some people from a certain background or country don’t find offensive other people will.

So if you do go down the line of having a chat on the field and you open that door, you have to be mindful that you have to accept whatever comes back at you.

It could be something that you find offensive but you can’t say and talk on the field and sledge and then say ‘Well I draw the line here and what he said was unacceptable’. That to me is ridiculous.

I think if that is the case then don’t sledge at all.

So could a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to sledging be the answer?

Everyone talks about ‘banter’ and about ‘having a friendly chat’ and not being offensive and its ‘part of the game’…

I actually think that if you are to play by the rules that there should be a rule that actually says “No, the line is drawn at zero tolerance. Nothing offensive that can be said.”

It might make it a little bit duller in terms of playing the game but sometimes so be it. It’s not going to take anything away from your skill or the spectacle of the game.

Otherwise if that rule is not drawn and the rules are not set you will get instances where players have these instances where offense is taken, lines are crossed, miscommunication, misunderstandings, bad tempers, all of these will be seen (like in Durban).

You need to be mindful that if young kids are watching the game and if your own kids are watching the game and you want it to be something healthy that they see on the pictures you can make your own decisions.

But implementation of the rules and regulations should be the same across the board.

(Alex Brown/Sports 360)

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Kumar Sangakkara demands protection for cricket stars to stop match-fixers

It has been a busy few days for the sport, with the ICC announcing last week that Sanath Jayasuriya, a former team-mate of Sri Lanka legend Sangakkara and the fourth-highest ODI run-scorer, had been charged with two counts of corruption while working as a selector last year.

Then, on Sunday, TV network Al Jazeera alleged English players had been involved in fixing seven matches across all formats in 2011-12. It is understood that senior players and coaches from that England team are furious with the allegations and the integrity of the team being called into question.

Sangakkara told Standard Sport that, in light of such damaging accusations, the game’s authorities must work together with “a more concerted effort” to stamp out corruption.

“These allegations need to be taken very seriously by all concerned and investigated thoroughly,” he said. “Everyone needs to come together and really knuckle down to search for an answer.”

In the documentary, one England player is purported to be on the phone to Aneel Munawar, a bookmaker, being told that he would soon receive funds for his role in a fix. The Daily Telegraph today reported that that unnamed player was considering legal action.

Al Jazeera are continuing to not co-operate with the ICC, and the ECB, along with Cricket Australia, have given the allegations short shrift.
The latest documentary showed Munawar, who has links to the crime syndicate D-Company — run by Dawood Ibrahim, one of the world’s most wanted men — up close with  players such as Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and Graeme Swann in hotel lobbies at major tournaments. There is no suggestion the players knew who he was or had anything to do with him.

Sangakkara added: “We must protect players, not just in terms of awareness and education, but a solid barrier so that players are not in a situation where anyone has access to them.

“It needs a more concerted effort after what we’ve seen happen in the last few months.

“It’s a very confusing time for everyone and the ICC and anti-corruption security unit need to get together with everyone to find the best possible way forward, educating administrators, vetting player agents and managers.

“It’s not an easy task, but now is the time for co-operation to make sure the game is as clean as possible.”

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I’m a scapegoat, says sacked Sri Lanka captain Mathews

Sri Lanka’s sacked skipper Angelo Mathews accused the country’s cricket board on Monday of blaming him solely for the island’s humiliating exit from the Asia Cup.

The 31-year-old all-rounder has threatened to retire from the two shorter formats of the game after being dumped on Sunday as captain of Sri Lanka’s One-day International and Twenty20 teams.

“I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performance against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup,” Mathews said in a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket.

The board said it asked Mathews to step down and allow Dinesh Chandimal to lead Sri Lanka during England’s tour which begins next month.

“The national selectors ... have requested Mathews to relinquish his duties as captain with immediate effect,” the board said in a statement. It did not elaborate on why Mathews was sacked.

“I’m willing to take part of the blame but, at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me,” Mathews wrote.

“If the selectors and coach are of the view that I am unfit to play ODI and T20 cricket and thus not entitled for my place in the team, I would also consider retiring from the ODI and T20 formats as I never want to be a burden to the team.” Sri Lanka have been grappling with a leadership crisis over the last 18 months, during which Upul Tharanga, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedera and Thisara Perera have also been tried as ODI captains.

But it follows Sri Lanka’s drubbing in the Asia Cup, with losses to lower-ranked Afghanistan and Bangladesh ensuring the island nation’s quick exit from the competition.

Sri Lanka were thumped by 137 runs against Bangladesh in their opening match of the tournament, and have now lost 30 of their 40 matches since January 2017.

Chandimal, who was already captain of Sri Lanka’s Test side, now takes the reins in all three formats of the game.

Sri Lanka will face England in five One-day Internationals, one twenty20 and three Test matches from October 10.

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