Colombo: Sri Lankan cricket legend Sanath Jayasuriya Tuesday refused to comment on the ICC’s charge of non-cooperation in an ongoing anti-corruption probe but insisted that he has always conducted himself with “integrity and transparency”.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday charged Jayasuriya for violating the anti-corruption code which deals with non-cooperation in investigations. However, he was not accused of indulging in any corrupt activity.
“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,” Jayasuriya said in a statement.
The 49-year-old, who served as Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors besides being a former parliamentarian, said he would comment further only after his response to the ICC is submitted.
“However, I am under advice to state that the above charges do not contain any allegations pertaining to match fixing, pitch fixing or any other similar corrupt activity,” he said.
“I have always conducted myself with integrity and transparency with matters concerning the sport and I will continue to do so,” he added.
The ICC did not specify the events that prompted its action against the celebrated cricketer, who is a World Cup winner and played 110 Tests and 445 ODIs.
However, a source in Sri lanka Cricket said that Jayasuriya is in the line of fire for “trying to block” an ICC probe which began in 2015.
The investigation led to Galle curator Jayananda Warnaweera being banned for three years in 2016 for failing to cooperate with the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). The SLC source said when approached by the ICC, Jayasuriya refused to part with some information in his phone, which was sought by the governing body for its probe.
According to a cricket website, Sri Lanka’s 2017 ODI home series against Zimbabwe, which the islanders lost, is under the ICC’s scanner. Jayasuriya was into his second term as chairman of selectors at that time.
One of Sri Lanka’s greatest cricketers, Jayasuriya was the player of the 1996 World Cup which is the country’s first and only World Cup trophy. His Test career lasted over a decade. He was the first player to score over 12,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in ODI cricket.
After signing off from international cricket, Jayasuriya also tried his hands at politics and in 2010 became an elected member of the Sri Lankan parliament, a stint which ended in 2015. He also served as a minister during the time.
In 2013, he became the selection committee’s chairman for the first time. The tenure ended in 2015 after a string of failures by the Lankan team.
His second innings in the job, which began in 2015 itself, ended after the team’s home series debacle against India in 2017.