Jayawardene gets legal advice
Colombo - Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene has taken legal advice over doubts raised on a state-run TV channel about the way he and another batsman performed in the World Cup defeat by Pakistan.
Sri Lanka, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament, lost Saturday's Pakistan game by 11 runs as Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera were out for just two runs and one run respectively when the team was trying to accelerate the run rate against the powerful Pakistan bowling.
State-owned Independent Television Network (ITN) in an analytical documentary aired on Sunday criticised several Sri Lankan players including Jayawardene and Samaraweera for their poor performance.
Jayawardene when asked about the allegations before the Kenya match said he had consulted his lawyers over the matter.
"The lawyers will decide what proper course of action should be taken," he told Reuters.
ITN also accused a businessman of betting $18 053 on Pakistan's victory without giving any further details.
"We are treating the matter seriously," said Nishantha Ranatunga, the secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket.
In a statement, Sri Lanka Cricket later condemned the programme for "carrying a story that is baseless and thereby demoralising our players during the ongoing World Cup".
"Sri Lanka Cricket will be taking this matter up with the relevant authorities of this channel, based on the fact that this channel has brought great distress to two of our national cricketers who have served Sri Lanka Cricket with honour and dignity throughout their illustrious careers so far."
The ITN in its 'Vimasuma' (inquiry) programme accused both Jayawardene and Samaraweera of changing the game, which otherwise Sri Lanka would have won.
"We are now in second thoughts whether Mahela and Thilan actually 'changed the game'," the narrator of the programme said, adding that if both had scored 30 runs together, Sri Lanka would have won.
Compared to other Asian neighbours, the 1996 World Cup champions have been relatively free from corruption and match-fixing scandals.
"People who make such allegations should be careful of what they say unless they have sufficient proof," Sri Lanka's team Anura Tennekoon told Reuters.
Last month, three Pakistan players were banned for a minimum of five years over allegations that they deliberately bowled no-balls (spot-fixing) against England last August.
That case has now been taken to sport's highest court of appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The game's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), told Reuters on Tuesday that each of the 49 matches at the World Cup were "to some extent" scrutinised by an anti-corruption unit.
A spokesman explained that unless the unit, which keeps its deliberations secret, planned action against a team or individual then the ICC itself would not be informed.
Also on Tuesday, an agency story suggesting that Australia were under investigation for slow scoring in a win against Zimbabwe was dismissed by team officials as "laughable".
The ICC told Reuters they had heard nothing suggesting anything untoward.