Betting speculation September 16, 2005

Muttiah Muralitharan's full statement

Muralitharan: Allegations are shocking and totally baseless © Getty Images

"I have been compelled to make a public statement following wholly inaccurate and defamatory speculation of me by certain sections of the Indian media during the past few days.

These media reports have insinuated my possible involvement in a gambling and match-fixing controversy with which I have no connection. These allegations are shocking and totally baseless.

I have traveled to Mumbai on a few occasions in recent years for official award ceremonies and to attend to family business matters. On one occasion, I met actor Aditya Pancholi who invited me to dinner. Afterwards, we visited Deepa Bar for approximately one hour before I returned to my hotel.

Contrary to media speculation, I have never been introduced to and nor do I have any links whatsoever with a woman called Tarannum Khan, who was apparently a dancer in the Deepa Bar. In addition, this was also the only occasion in my life that I visited this particular bar.

Reports appearing in recent media reports of my close alliance with this bar or the dancer are therefore total fabrications. I have been associated with a match-fixing controversy on the basis that I innocently patronised a bar a few years ago, which I believe is grossly unfair.

These reports appear to be made in express malice and also seem to have the ulterior motive of holding me out to public ridicule and contempt.

Representing Sri Lanka as a cricketer is a truly great honour and a source of immense personal pride. I have always strived to perform to the very best of my ability and have maintained at all times while doing so the highest ethics of the game.

It is thus deeply upsetting for my family and I that such wild allegations are now being made. I have therefore spoken to my lawyers and I am taking all necessary steps legally available to me in order to safeguard my reputation and integrity.

I have fought hard throughout my career, overcoming many obstacles along the way, and I will not tolerate those who promote gossip and speculation that defames my character.

I will not be making any further public statements on this subject."