Web Editor: While always wary of conspiracy theories, this particular interpretation gains some force because “Duminda” presented it on the 1st April before the World Cup Final and because that fact has been attested by one “Nimal” whose circular note re this speculation was co passed on to me by Anne Abaysekara. What we now require is a video of the toss at the India-Pakistan match posted on the public realm. The allegations are as serious as Michael Vaughan’s claims. Both have to be looked at and it is hoped that the ICC will not sweep matters under the carpet.
Will the Toss be manipulated against Sri Lanka?
Duminda XX at email@example.com
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. 2pm Indian Standard Time, Saturday, April 2, 2011.
A thunderous ovation greets Kumar Sangakkara and M S Dhoni as they walk out to toss. Standing next to them, on the pitch, is former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri with the mike in hand. Dhoni, who is the host captain, takes out the coin. He flips it so that it lands not at the feet of the two captains as is generally the case, but a good 10-12 feet away from Sangakkara, right next to the ICC Match Referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand. Sangakkara, surprised by the trajectory of the coin toss is a little late in reacting. He makes a belated attempt to walk towards the coin. Shastri, all six feet of him, gets in his way, and in a split second, Crowe, the only person to observe the coin on the ground, says, “India have won the toss.” Mumbai erupts, and Sangakkara does his best to keep a straight face. The camera and Shastri, move quickly to Dhoni, and Shastri exults, “M.S., you have won it again!!!”Sri Lanka have lost the most important decision, and it wasn’t due to bad luck.
Too far fetched? Then open your eyes. What was described above was what exactly happened at the Semi-Final between India and Pakistan. Just substitute the names. The fact is Afridi did not even have a chance!!
You can see the video here (The coin toss is 30 seconds in). http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/espnvideo.html
Forget the individuals involved, the Match Referees, the Shastris etc. Why doesn’t the ICC and ESPN show which way the coin has fallen? When the coin toss is worth at least a billion dollars and the ICC supposedly spends millions each year on its Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Sir Paul Congdon, why aren’t the viewers shown how the coin has fallen? Unless the special coin minted for the occasion was made with radioactive uranium from Fukushima and bad for our eyes. Just how can an organisation so committed to transparency on its website, leave it alone to the Match Referee? Especially when the view of the other captain can be impeded as Dhoni and Shastri so expertly did in the semi-final against Pakistan. There was a time when the camera followed the coin to show how it has fallen. No longer.
It is too late to worry about the India-Pakistan match but the Final is still ahead. If you are a Sri Lankan fan, or for that matter, regardless of nationality, cares about the sanctity and fairness of the game, you need to prevent this from repeating on Saturday.
How you can help:
First, the Sri Lankan team, Sangakkara in particular, and the management should be informed to be more alert at the toss. Sanga needs to make 100% sure that he makes the call (as the visiting captain, that’s his entitlement, and negates the possibility of a Weighted coin) and sees himself how the coin has fallen. Not rely on Crowe or Shastri.
Second, write to the ICC (http://icc-cricket.yahoo.net/), ESPNSTAR ( http://www.espnstar.com/cricket/icc-cricket-world-cup/), Sri Lankan, Indian and overseas media, insisting that the ICC/ESPN-STAR reverse their decision not to show the coin on the ground.
Third, forward this to anyone who can assist with above. If we create awareness quickly, the possibility of the toss, and possibly the match, being stolen in front of eyes, can be reduced.
There is no doubt that a vast majority of Indian fans too want to see a clean, well-fought game. Unfortunately, cricket has become big business today. While on one hand , we cheer the centre of gravity moving from England/Australia to the sub-continent, we need to recognize there is a Commercial-Administrative-Player/Agent-Betting Complex that calls most of the shots. Much remains to be done to reclaim the game but let us focus now on the job at hand.
I have the utmost confidence in the Sri Lankan team. Every one of them will give 100% to win this for Sri Lanka and for Murali. As fans, we need to do our part too to ensure they have a fair chance!!