The decision of the Sri Lankan team management to “rest” Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vaas for today’s Super 8 World Cup match against Australia has set tongues wagging more than usual in the SET Max studios in London.”If Paul Condon and his Anti-Corruption Unit men are around, they should go into the Sri Lankan dressing room and ask what the hell is happening,” former Australian captain Ian Chappell said, as Mandira Bedi‘s jaw dropped, in a manner of speaking.
Present in the studio when Chappell made the stunning accusation was former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga, but even the proud Sinhala nationalist refused to rush to the team’s help.
“All I can say is that the Sri Lankan team had the most accomplished substitutes on call today—Murali, Vaas and Marvan Attapattu,” Ranatunga said feebly.
The charitable view of the decision to drop Murali and Vaas, two of the most effective bowlers in the tournament, is that the team may have not wanted to expose them to the Aussies in the match since they are already assured of a semifinal berth.
“You could say they are saving them for Jamaica,” Chappell said. “But what do you tell spectators who have paid top dollar for a much-hyped encounter like this?”
To be fair, nobody mentioned the word match-fixing. But in the era of spread betting or spot betting, bookies are known to take bets on the composition of a side, too. So, were Murali and Vaas kept out to keep some forces beyond the boundary happy? Maybe, maybe not.
Don’t shoot us; we are just the piano players.