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Ex-Sri Lanka captain Jayasuriya responds to corruption charges

London, Wednesday


Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya has emphasised his “integrity and transparency” in response to being charged by the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit.

The World Cup winner and former national selector was charged on Monday on two counts – “failure or refusal” to cooperate with an investigation carried out by the anti-corruption unit and “obstructing or delaying” its work by concealing, tampering or destroying documentation or information.

He has now issued a carefully-worded statement in which he suggests “strict legal advice” prevents him from commenting fully before submitting his response to the ICC.

Jayasuriya does, though, say: “I have always conducted myself with integrity and transparency with matters concerning the sport and will continue to do so.

“I am under advice to state that the charges do not contain any allegations pertaining to match fixing, pitch fixing or any other corrupt activity. The charges allege that I have not been cooperative and not assisted the investigations.”

Jayasuriya, who played 110 Tests, 445 one-day internationals and 31 Twenty20s in a 22-year international career, has until 29 October to respond to the charges.

His statement added: “The contents of the (ICC) letter which has been released to the media has caused a lot of speculation among the cricket loving public both domestically and internationally.

“Unfortunately, I am not in a position to release any comments at this moment as I am initially required to submit my response within 14 days. I am under strict legal advice that no comment is to be made in respect of the above charges as such a course would offend the ICC Rules.

“My legal team is in the process of drafting my response and I would make a further release upon the submission of the said response.”

Jayasuriya, 49, was the player of the tournament when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup and served as captain from 1999 to 2003.

He is Sri Lanka’s third-most prolific Test batsman with 6,973 runs, and only three players – Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara and Ricky Ponting – have scored more than his tally of 13,430 runs in ODIs.

As his playing career was winding down, he entered politics and served on the Sri Lankan parliament from 2010 to 2015, while he resigned as a member of the selection committee in August last year.

It is unknown which fixtures the charges relate to, or if anyone else is involved.

It was announced this month that Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, was overseeing a probe into potential corrupt practices over “serious allegations” in Sri Lanka. The matters under investigation are historical in nature and do not pertain to England’s current tour.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s third ODI in Kandy, the Sri Lanka team manager, Charith Senanayake, stepped in when all-rounder Dasun Shanaka was asked if the Jayasuriya case was a distraction to the team. – AFP

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