MATCH FIXING ALLEGATIONS REACH SRI LANKAN SHORES
May 2 - 15, 2011
After Australia and Pakistan, Sri Lanka has become the third country which saw the ghost of match fixing rear its ugly head. Recently former Sri Lankan captain Hasan Tillakaratne leveled the charges of match fixing on his team and alleged that the illegally activity involving some of his team mate was there since 1992.
His allegations surfaced when he recently talked about selection of the Sri Lankan team in the world cup and the world cup final against India last month in Mumbai. He cast doubt on the way Sri Lankan team was picked for the final. He was of the opinion that foul rather than fair play was involved in selecting the eleven.
The spineless performance from the Lankan's gave some credence to the charges but like in many other allegations about match and spot fixing leveled in the past, the onus of proving the accusation lies on the shoulders of the accusers but it was always, if not impossible but difficult to prove them unless one had some solid proofs in photographs and in writing, like that was available against three Pakistanis- Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamer who were banished from cricket for a seven year period.
Tillakaratne however is ignoring one fact, India was a far better and well equipped team and was an odds on favourite for the Trophy. But still Sri Lanka whenever it had played against India had done well.
Sri Lankan spinner like Ajantha Mendis if included in the playing team could have upset the Indian applecart. But, he was not there and that was the complaint of Tillakartne.
While making his allegation, the former skipper who had played 83 tests and 200 ODIs has said he was speaking with responsibility and knew what he was speaking about and said he would expose the people involved when time came.
His accusations however give the impression that it was an allegation leveled due to huge disappointment that engulfed the island nation after the loss. The cricket experts had believed that Sri Lanka would give a good fight but when the match ended in rather one way, the doubts in the minds of those who were emotionally disappointed, was greater than others.
Tillakaratne said match fixing allegations could not surface earlier because the people involved in those illegal activities had used money power to suppress the issue.
Tillakaratne was so charged that he even went to the extent in predicting that if nothing was done Sri Lanka would soon surpass Pakistan in terms of match fixing.
Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had dismissed Tillakaratne's claims and added it was more politically motivated. He said these people were making these claims to defame the government because they were in the government opposition. At home, two controversies hit the cricket scene.
The one was connected with the chief national cricket selector Mohsin Hasan Khan who had threatened to resign in protest against the changes made in the team picked up by his team. The other controversy was about a verbal tiff that the coach Waqar Younis and One day skipper Shahid Afridi had had a day before the final ODI against the host who won it to narrow the defeat margin of the best of five ODI series to 3-2.
However, it was selection of the team for two test series against the West Indies, which will be played at the end of the ODI series that created a mild flutter in the PCB.
Chief selector Mohsin Hasan Khan was so incensed when two of the players picked by the selector were ignored by the PCB that issued the final fifteen that he decided to quit the job.
The selectors had picked Khurram Manzoor and Adnan Akmal as wicket keeper for the series but when the team was sent for the final approval of the chairman Ejaz butt, he said to have consulted Pakistan coach Waqar Younis now in the West Indies and changed two names.
Azhar Ali was brought in for Kurram Manzoor and keeper Adnan Akmal was dropped in favour of Muhammad Salman who was selected for the ODI series. Mohsin Hasan khan who is under severe pressure from media which had criticized the selection made by him and his team announced that he would resign from the lucrative job that fetches him Rs 250,000 as monthly salary.
However, the former batsman who after leaving cricket had turned a film actor did not keep his word. He was to announce his resignation at media briefing at Karachi but when the PCB reminded him that if he would do that he would be breaching the code of conduct laid down for the PCB employees. He was asked to come to Lahore and meet the PCB chairman Ejaz Butt where the issue was discussed and Mohsin Hasan Khan timidly retracted his plans to resign.
He had no option because for him employment is more important than anything else at the moment. After the meeting held in PCB headquarters the PCB chairman announced that he and the selector had a fruitful meting.
Mohsin and he, Ijaz Butt had a fruitful meeting in which they discussed a number of matters. They also discussed some of the issues that were appearing in the media for last couple of days. Without going into the details of the matters discussed, Ejaz Butt said he was pleased to inform that there are currently no unresolved issues between PCB and Mohsin Hasan Khan.
We have discussed the importance of bringing in clarity in the role and functions of the National Selection Committee and the PCB had advised Mohsin that the Selection Committee has independence of taking selection decisions.
To clarify our stance on some speculations that have appeared in a section of media, after having Mohsin's point of view, PCB has decided that no further action in this matter is required.
Selection of the team for the fifth and the final ODI against the West Indies which the touring Pakistanis lost by ten wickets was at the centre of a verbal tiff between Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis. He clash got so bad that Shahid Afridi refused to lead the team in the final ODI but manager Intekhab Alam persuaded the ODI skipper not to skip the final. He led the team and the result of the match is clear proof of how Afridi led his team.
Afridi will be returning home and playing in the test series as he has already announced leaving test arena. Misbahul Haq will lead the Pakistan team in the test series.
PAKISTAN TEAM FOR THE SERIES IS:
Misbahul Haq (Captain), Younis Khan, Taufiq Umer, Muhammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Salman (WK), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umer Akmal, Umer Gul, Wahab Riaz, Tanvir Ahmed, Junaid Khan, and Hammad Azam.
The First Test will be played between 12-16 May at Providence Stadium, Guyana and Second Test will start from 20th May at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts.