England tour of SL in jeopardy as documentary exposes allegations of pitch doctoring

The documentary to be aired on Al Jazeera on Sunday, May 27, 2018.

Galle International Stadium

News and doctoring with the pitches to influence the outcome of upcoming matches between Sri Lanka and England have seriously jeopardized the Test series to be played in October, but have also shocked the cricketing world, after Daily Telegraph reported the news.

A documentary “Cricket’s match-fixers”, which will air on Al Jazeera on Sunday (May 27), saw an undercover journalist, who posed as a businessman who wishes to fix matches for profits, conversing with ground officials of the Galle International Stadium.

The broadcaster's investigation made use of hidden cameras to unveil how alleged match-fixer Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai, Dubai-based Indian businessman Gaurav Rajkumar and the Galle stadium assistant manager, Tharanga Indika, readily agreed to fix matches by doctoring pitches by arranging fixes.

One of the former SL player Tharindu Mendis also appears in one of the clips.

The International Cricket Council have already opened an investigation for the same and will now examine the matter deeply. Alex Marshall, head of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit said, "We will take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make very seriously."

England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), aware of the documentary, are keeping a close eye on the whole thing. An ECB spokesperson said, "ECB are aware of the planned Al Jazeera documentary, though not the full content. We endorse the ICC's position and fully support their work and investigations."

AL Jazeera’s investigation also put a shadow on the previous Tests played at the venue. India played Sri Lanka last July on what was a doctored surface, loaded in favor of batsmen. The Australian also reported that the 2016 Test between Australia and Sri Lanka was also played on a doctored pitch, as Australia lost 18 wickets fell to spin and visitors lost by 229 runs.

The groundsman was paid $37,000 to doctor a Test and that no money was taken upfront, but their involvement meant 30 percent of the eventual winnings, according to the documentary.


By Jatin Sharma - 26 May, 2018

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