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George Dobell and Andrew Fidel Fernando
June 19, 2014
Senanayake was the top wicket-taker as Sri Lanka defeated England in the ODI section of the tour but has subsequently been obliged to report to Cardiff for independent testing on his bowling action after it was reported by the ICC's match officials during the fourth ODI at Lord's.
That provoked resentment within the Sri Lankan camp, with the relationship between the sides deteriorating further when Jos Buttler, as the non-striking batsman, was run out by Senanayake, the bowler, in the final ODI at Edgbaston; a rare instance of 'Mankading' in the modern game.
Cook, England's Test and ODI captain, said that while "concerns were raised" upon seeing Senanayake's action on TV, no one within the team or the team management had attempted to bring this to the match officials' notice.
"We as players have no power to report anyone," Cook said. "It's directly down to the umpires and the match referee. I know that for a fact. So we can't say anything, it's down to the ICC and the umpires on the day.
"Concerns were raised just by watching TV. I think everyone saw his action and I think concerns were raised; you only had to watch TV and see that."
No one in the Sri Lanka camp has named the person, or persons, within either the England team or the ECB, who they suspect took the issue to the match officials. But suspicion of the opposition and board lingers.
Adding to this mistrust, indirectly, is the fact that Paul Farbrace, now England's assistant coach, had rated Senanayake highly as a long-format spinner during his tenure with the Sri Lanka team. Some within Sri Lanka's cricket establishment continue to believe this may have helped make Senanayake a ripe target.
It was also reported, in both Sri Lankan and English media, that Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, complained to the ICC when Angelo Mathews suggested someone in English cricket had influenced the match officials, in an interview with BBC's Sinhala service.
"When you travel to some parts of the world and people find a certain bowler difficult to handle they tend to report," Mathews said.
While Cook was unable to confirm that no one within the ECB had complained about Senanayake's action - "I don't know within the ECB at all," he said - the intervention of SLC secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga, appeared to confirm that, at administrative level at least, Sri Lanka held no such concerns.
In a letter to the sports editor of a Sri Lankan newspaper - seen by ESPNcricinfo - Ranatunga praised Clarke as "a pillar of strength to the Cricket in Sri Lanka and it's [sic] growth unconditionally" and requested a clarification be printed to correct any suggestion that Clarke had interfered in the matter.
"Mr. Giles Clarke as the Chairman of ECB is heading the policy-making body and does not get involved with any operational aspects of such matters," Ranatunga wrote.
While England may have reservations about Senanayake, Cook confirmed that Moeen Ali had not been asked to refrain from bowling a doosra in the first Test at Lord's. Moeen, England's offspinning allrounder, has started to utilise the delivery quite frequently at county level - he bowled four in his four-over spell in a recent T20 match between Worcestershire and Lancashire - and it was something of a surprise that he did not bowl one in the first Test at Lord's.
"No, Moeen has not been asked not to bowl it," Cook said, "because you don't have to bowl a doosra by throwing it."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo; Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondentFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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