India’s 2011 World Cup Final Cheating Scandal Deepens As Sri Lanka’s Former Sports Minister Makes New Claim

India's cricket team after winning the World Cup.
Graham Crouch / Getty Images

There may be new support to the idea that India’s 2011 cricket World Cup win wasn’t on the up-and-up.

After an allegation from former Sri Lankan World Cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga that the final was fixed to allow India to win, former Sri Lankan sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has claimed he too believes that the final was “sold” to India — though he’s not offered evidence to back up that claim. As AFP reported, Ranatunga said in an interview that he did not want to disclose the plot at the time, but was aware that the fix was in during the World Cup final.

“I tell you today that we sold the 2011 World Cup finals,” he claimed. “Even when I was sports minister I believed this.”

Aluthgamage, who now serves as head of Sri Lanka’s ministry for renewable energy and power, said he now feels free to come forward with the allegations, saying that he would not name players but adding that “some sections were involved.”

Neither Ranatunga nor Aluthgamage have said exactly how they know that the match was fixed or in what way India may have cheated to win it. The Indian team won in large part to fielding miscues by Sri Lanka, despite Sri Lanka batting first and scoring 274-6 off 50 overs.

There appears to be growing pressure on the former sports minister to back up the claim. Kumar Sangakkara, who was Sri Lanka’s captain at the time, said that Aluthgamage must show the evidence he has that the final was “sold” to India. As the Hindustan Times reported, he said the world bodies overseeing cricket should be the ones investigating.

“It’s a very serious allegation,” Sangakkara said. “Since he says he has evidence and proof, the prudent thing to do is to go to the Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC and put forth his claims so they can investigate them thoroughly and come to a conclusion whether what the former minister says is true or not.”

Other Sri Lankan players have appeared to mock the claim and suggested that Aluthgamage may have other motivations in coming forward with the suggestion that India paid off its rival. Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lankan captain who notched a hundred in the 2011 World Cup final, hinted in a tweet that there was a political motivation for the claim that the match was fixed.

As the AFP report noted, the Sri Lankan cricket team has been embroiled in controversy before, including claims of match-fixing before a 2018 Test against England. The country instituted a number of penalties last November and put new restrictions on sports betting in response.