Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)



Cricket lovers in Sri Lanka might not be happy with the clash between the two legends of the game, former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Arjuna Ranatunga the current Minister of Petroleum and Renewable Resources. They are indirectly levelling serious allegation­s against each other, which if proved, would definitely ruin their hard earned reputation­s.

Raising a question on the 2009 Tour of Pakistan where the players had to face a horrendous terrorist attack, Sangakkara for some reason first called for an inquiry into why the team was sent to Pakistan when there were no proper answers to security concerns and asked as to who was responsibl­e for arranging the tour. Arjuna, as he is fondly called in Sri Lanka even by school children, in spite of his age, retaliated by calling for a similar investigat­ion on the circumstan­ces that led to the Sri Lankan team’s defeat in the 2011 World Cup final against India. He had said he could not reveal what happened during the finals, but would reveal the truth “someday.”

It is very clear that they are implicitly accusing each other for the two debacles. Sangakkara must explain to the cricket crazy country on grounds for calling for an investigat­ion on the ill-fated Pakistan tour and even more important, as to what made him not raise this issue for the past eight years, if he had evidence to suggest that the authoritie­s made a reckless decision to send the team to Pakistan.

Arjuna’s statement was more serious. Does he imply that the 2011 final against India was fixed? And since he made this statement in retaliatio­n to Sangakkara’s call for a probe on the Pakistan tour he further implies that Sangakkara was involved in whatever he claims. He too has to explain to the country the reasons behind this statement and why he is unable to reveal what he knew about the match at the time it happened or for so long.

It also raises several other questions as well. If Sangakkara had not called for an inquiry on the Pakistan tour, would Arjuna have called for an inquiry on the 2011 final, irrespecti­ve of having evidence or at least doubts of foul play? Going by the statement made by Arjuna, his call for a probe on the 2011 final seems to be conditiona­l. “If Mr. Sangakkara wants an inquiry into the tour of Pakistan then they should have one. But I think we should also inquire into what happened to the Sri Lanka team during the 2011 World Cup final,” he said. Then the question remains whether it is proper for the World-cup-winning captain not to reveal what he knows about an important event in Sri Lankan cricket history, without waiting for “someday.” Isn’t he ignoring his responsibi­lity towards cricket in particular and to the country at large?

By the way, to digress a bit from the main subject, but to strike a relevant point, we would like to point out that threatenin­g to reveal secrets hasbeen a tool used by many important or famous people as a means of silencing the critics. We can cite two more important recent cases as examples of this kind of action. One was the threat by President Maithripal­a Sirisena to reveal secrets “in the event” the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists formed a new political party, and the other being that of Bodu Bala Sena Chief Ven. Galagodatt­e Gnanasara Thera’s announceme­nt in 2013 to reveal “in due course” the names of 11 major heroin importers of whom nine he said were Muslims.

The joint opposition has formed a new political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), but the President has so far failed to reveal the secrets he was supposed to hold. And the “due course” has not arrived yet for the BBS to reveal the names of the big-time heroin dealers.

The secrets that the President hinted at must be important to the country, as otherwise there was no point in threatenin­g the Mahinda loyalists by threatenin­g to reveal them. Revealing the names of large-scale heroin dealers is no doubt very important and a must, if some one has any informatio­n about it. These and the secrets held by our cricket legends are not things to reveal on certain conditions as the only condition for them to be revealed is whether they are in the interests of the country and its people.

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