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.