Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage rubbished claims made by former captain Hashan Tillakaratne that match-fixing is a common phenomenon in the country's cricketing circles on Friday. (Also Read: Let Hashan prove fixing allegations: Mahela)
Tillakaratne alleged that match-fixing in Sri Lanka has been going on since 1992.
Aluthgamage said that Tillakaratne's views are personnel and there is no proof behind his allegations.
"It seems that all these claims are his personal views. We don't have anything to prove the same. If he believes that such thing exists then he should come out with proof and give it to me in writing. I don't think any player will be involved in fixing. They all play for the country," said Aluthgamage.
The sports minister added the allegations made by Tillakaratne are politically motivated.
"He is part of the opposition and definitely talking on behalf of a politician," said Aluthgamage of the cricketer-turned-politician.
Earlier, Tillkaratne, who led the side between 2003 and 2004, alleged that the menace of match-fixing is not a new phenomenon and also raised questions on Sri Lanka making four changes against India in the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai earlier this month.
"I can tell this in agreement with my conscience. Match fixing is not something that started happening yesterday or today. According to my knowledge, it happened since 1992. I say this with great responsibility," Tillakaratne was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
"I am not saying that this match (the World Cup final) was fixed but why were four players changed for this match? Those are questions that should be asked. Arjuna (Ranatunga) spoke about this, we who have played cricket talk about this. We were playing an entirely different side."
"Why was (Ajantha) Mendis removed to put another spinner? Kapugedara (Chamara) was never among runs but he was chosen to replace Chamara Silva. It is not fair, is it? But anyway, match fixing is something which has been in this country over a period of time. This has spread like a cancer today," said Tillakaratne, who represented Sri Lanka in 83 Tests and 200 One-Day Internationals.
The former left-hand batsman said the match-fixing issue could have been exposed earlier but "it was pushed down by giving money to various people".
"There were threats of this issue being exposed during various times. But it was pushed down by giving money to various people. If the people who were responsible for that are listening to this, I state this today with great responsibility, I will shortly reveal the names of those responsible."
Tillakaratne said it won't be long that the island nation's name is taken ahead of Pakistan, another country affected by the match-fixing menace.
"This has been happening since 1992 and I know all the people who are connected to it. This situation was always there. When it came out from time to time, it was quietly swept under the carpet," he said.
"If someone doesn't intervene and stop this menace, within another two-three years in this country, with these politics, with these corrupt administrators, I believe this country won't be second to Pakistan in the near future" he added.