Jayawardene takes legal advice over TV programme claims

Wednesday, 2 March 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters) - Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene has taken legal advice over doubts raised on a state-run TV channel about the way he and another batsman performed in the World Cup defeat by Pakistan.

Sri Lanka, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament, lost Saturday’s Pakistan game by 11 runs as Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera were out for just two runs and one run respectively when the team was trying to accelerate the run rate against the powerful Pakistan bowling.

State-owned Independent Television Network (ITN) in an analytical documentary aired on Sunday criticised several Sri Lankan players including Jayawardene and Samaraweera for their poor performance.

Jayawardene when asked about the allegations before the Kenya match said he had consulted his lawyers over the matter.

“The lawyers will decide what proper course of action should be taken,” he told Reuters.

ITN also accused a businessman of betting 2 million rupees ($18,053) on Pakistan’s victory without giving any further details.

“We are treating the matter seriously,” said Nishantha Ranatunga, the secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket.

In a statement, Sri Lanka Cricket later condemned the programme for “carrying a story that is baseless and thereby demoralising our players during the ongoing World Cup”.

“Sri Lanka Cricket will be taking this matter up with the relevant authorities of this channel, based on the fact that this channel has brought great distress to two of our national cricketers who have served Sri Lanka Cricket with honour and dignity throughout their illustrious careers so far.”

The ITN in its ‘Vimasuma’ (inquiry) programme accused both Jayawardene and Samaraweera of changing the game, which otherwise Sri Lanka would have won.

“We are now in second thoughts whether Mahela and Thilan actually ‘changed the game’,” the narrator of the programme said, adding that if both had scored 30 runs together, Sri Lanka would have won.