Sanath Jayasuriya states his 'integrity and transparency' in wake of ACU charges

A grim Sanath Jayasuriya after Sri Lanka's opening loss Getty Images

Former Sri Lanka captain and selector Sanath Jayasuriya has said he has "always conducted [himself] with integrity and transparency with matters concerning the sport," in the wake of being charged on two counts under the ICC's anti-corruption code.

Jayasuriya, 49, also pointed out that the charges laid upon him "do not contain any allegations pertaining to match fixing, pitch fixing or any other similar corrupt activity," and that they were charges that allege he has not been co-operative with the ACU's investigations only. He made these statements in a press release on Tuesday.

The ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is understood to have interviewed Jayasuriya several times before their charges were eventually laid. Some of these discussions had centred around a phone that Jayasuriya had been asked to hand over to the ACU, but had failed to present in a timely manner. Among the reasons Jayasuriya provided for the delay was that he had personal materials and videos on that phone that he was reluctant for officials to see.

In his release, Jayasuriya stated that he is "not in any position to release any comments at this moment" as he is first required to to submit his response to the ACU inside 14 days. "I am under strict legal advice that no comment is to be made in respect of the charges as such a course would offend the ICC rules," the statement said.

With the ACU investigations still ongoing, it is possible that more figures involved in Sri Lankan cricket could be charged under the anti-corruption code in the coming weeks and months. The ACU general manager Alex Marshall had also briefed the players in the two teams in the ongoing England v Sri Lanka ODI series in order to "ensure they remain alert to the risks of would-be corruptors".

The charges against Jayasuriya relate to failure or refusal to cooperate with an ACU investigation and obstructing or delaying an investigation, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information which may be relevant. They were laid following more than a year of ACU focus on Sri Lanka's 2017 ODI series against Zimbabwe.

Jayasuriya was chairman of selectors until he and his committee resigned in September 2017, following widespread criticism of the committee's performance. He had also been chief selector in a previous two-year stint, that ran from early 2013 to the end of the 2015 World Cup. The charges are understood to relate to alleged incidents that occurred during the second of those stints.

Concerns had surfaced over a year ago in the media about Sri Lanka's performance during their home ODI series against Zimbabwe last September. The five-match series, closely fought, was eventually won by Zimbabwe 3-2.

It is understood that there were specific concerns about the fourth ODI of the series, in Hambantota, which Zimbabwe eventually won on the basis of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method despite Sri Lanka setting a 301-run target initially.