What’s the story?
Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan has denied allegations made by former captain Arjuna Ranatunga that the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede was fixed. Speaking on the chat show ‘Chat-athon’, the stalwart acknowledged that India were a better team in the final.
“We had a good opportunity to win in the final, but two things happened. I had a groin injury in the semi final and Angelo Mathews, who was among runs was completely out (final) because he was injured,” said Muralitharan. "The batsmen were scoring runs but the middle order batsmen didn't click in few matches and the selectors made 3-4 changes and it was far from a regular team.”
Muralitharan also explained the exact reason behind choosing to bat first after winning the toss.
"(On winning the toss) the senior players and the selectors were scared of chasing a target and thought of batting first. But in my mind was to bat second because I thought India could chase any target and this was intimated to the team-management. This I had told them with my previous tour experience of dew," he said. "But Sanga said he was promised by the match referee that they would spray chemicals and prevent dew from threatening the game."
He then opined that Sri Lanka’s tragic loss was largely due to dew.
"Within 15 overs dew came and they could do nothing. There was no match-fixing but Mathews' injury, miscalculation (on dew factor) cost us the World Cup final,” he said. “But we can't take credit away from India."
In case you didn’t know...
A few days ago, the former Sri Lanka captain demanded a probe into his country's 2011 World Cup final defeat against Team India. Ranatunga claimed to have proof that the final was fixed, and said that he would reveal it when the time was right.
The heart of the matter
The 53-year-old, in a post on his Facebook page, had said he was shocked by Sri Lanka's six-wicket defeat at the Wankhede and felt that a part of the game was scripted.
While the local media in India paid heed to Ranatunga’s claims, no formal call for an investigation was made.
It remains to be seen if Ranatunga actually discloses the facts that he claims he has.
It has been more than six years since India won the World Cup. There is no reason for Ranatunga to have waited for such a large period of time to put forward his claims, which have interested neither the cricket authorities nor the fans.