ICC probes pitch-fixing charges involving Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's captain Dinesh Chandimal inspects the pitch during a practice session at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo in March. (AFP)
Updated 26 May 2018
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ICC probes pitch-fixing charges involving Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lankan alleged to have agreed to tamper with pitch against England
  • Al-Jazeera documentary apparently catches two Sri Lankans and a former Indian player discussing how to rig England’s opening Test in November

COLOMBO: The International Cricket Council said Saturday it was investigating allegations that a Sri Lankan groundsman had agreed to tamper with the pitch to alter the result of an upcoming Test match against England.
The ICC said it took the allegations reported in an Al-Jazeera documentary “very seriously” and urged “all evidence and supporting material” to be shared with the investigators.
An advance report on the documentary, which will be broadcast on Sunday, said two Sri Lankans and a former Indian player were caught discussing how to rig England’s opening Test against Sri Lanka in November.
“We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from member countries based on the limited information we have received,” the ICC said in a statement.
It also called for the immediate release of any evidence and supporting material to enable the anti-corruption unit to “undertake a full and comprehensive investigation.”
The London-based Daily Telegraph said late Friday that the Al Jazeera footage seen by the newspaper featured Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai, India, Tharindu Mendis, a player from Colombo, and Tharanga Indika, an assistant manager at Galle International Stadium.
The newspaper reported that the footage showed the men talking about doctoring pitches during a meeting with an undercover reporter.
The men were reportedly discussing ways to prepare the pitch to ensure that the first Test at the Galle ground would not end in a draw and would yield a result in less than four days.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board said it would “extend its fullest cooperation to the ICC to investigate the latest allegations levelled via media reports, over ‘match fixing’.”
The former curator of the Galle International Stadium, Jayananda Warnaweera, is already under an ICC ban for three years until January 2019 for failing to cooperate with an anti-corruption investigation.
Warnaweera, a former Test player, had failed to attend interviews with the ICC’s anti-corruption unit. He had been previously handed a two-year ban by the local board over the same allegations.
Sri Lankan players and umpires have been accused of match fixing in the past, but Warnaweera is the highest ranking official punished so far.
Although no big-name Sri Lankan player has ever been convicted of corruption, several former stars have made allegations of either match fixing or spot-fixing — when players deliberately bowl or field badly to give away a set number of runs.

Sri Lanka Cricket says it will offer its "fullest co-operation" with the ICC. It said on Saturday it was "constantly engaged with the ICC and is following its guidelines on how to handle anti-corruption operations for the forthcoming tours in Sri Lanka."

 


Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

Updated 16 min 19 sec ago
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Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

  • Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based
  • Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent

SARANSK: Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based, making loud noises in an attempt to disrupt their opponents’ sleep before a decisive World Cup match later Monday.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent, but Monday morning there were still a few dozen of them playing loud music near the hotel in the Saransk city center.
Iran can only advance to the next stage of the World Cup if it beats the European champions. Portugal only needs a draw, but also aims to take the top position in Group B ahead of Spain.
Saransk police said they received their first calls about the noise about 11 p.m. Sunday, when a first wave of Iran fans arrived and started singing outside the hotel. That forced Ronaldo to show up, which convinced supporters to leave.
Then a second wave came and did not stop making noise for several hours. Police then blocked roads nearby, but the main avenue across the hotel was still open, which allowed Iran fans to keep their effort in smaller numbers.
Iran fan and IT consultant Mehdi Fayez arrived Monday morning after reading messages from supporters saying they needed to trouble Portugal to stand a better chance of winning the match.
“I love Ronaldo, I love Portugal, but this is a big game. We have to do all it takes,” a still joyful Fayez said, as he held an Iranian flag on the back of his head.
Montreh Fayoud, one of the several Iranian women that are attending their first World Cup, disagreed.
“We were coming back from dinner and saw all these Iranians here. When I found the reason, I decided to leave,” she said.
At about noon on Monday Portugal players had a quick walk around the hotel, but it is uncertain whether they will walk around the city as they did before other matches in Russia.