Sri Lanka off-spinner Suraj Randiv was a surprise inclusion for the 2011 Earth Cup final. Extra than a 10 years afterwards, it nevertheless continues to be a connect with that arrived out of absolutely nowhere, writes Shashwat Kumar.
When choosing SportsNS’s a single Entire world Cup surprise XI, there was a harmony to be struck in between superb ODI gamers who had a good solitary Earth Cup, or journeymen who starred in their limited time on the worldwide phase. And then there had been the players whose stories built the circumstance for them.
Suraj Randiv didn’t make the XI. He played only just one Environment Cup game, lost it, and did not take a wicket. But his tale deserves further inspection. Simply because that a person match arrived in a Entire world Cup remaining. And the conclusion to select him still leads to controversy to this working day.
For considerably of the 2011 ICC Cricket Planet Cup, Sri Lanka’s spin reserves were being very well-stocked. Muttiah Muralitharan was savoring his swansong and Ajantha Mendis’ thriller experienced yet to be decoded. Rangana Herath offered the Islanders yet another exceptional choice.
As the event entered its home extend, nevertheless, the accidents commenced piling up for Sri Lanka. Angelo Mathews pulled up lame during the semi-closing in opposition to New Zealand, while Muralitharan also did not search in peak physical condition. Randiv and veteran Chaminda Vaas were being drafted in as prospective replacements, and whilst the former was presumed to be a backup to Muralitharan, when Mathews was definitively dominated out a working day ahead of the ultimate, it was Randiv incorporated in his location.
Still, even if his location in the squad was justifiable, picking him for the remaining was some thing else, with the off-spinner a person between four players to come into the side. Mendis was the bowler to make way, in spite of possessing been Sri Lanka’s most economical bowler in the opposition and having claimed three wickets in the semi-last.
Perhaps an argument for the mystery spinner’s exclusion was to be identified in India’s 2008 tour to Sri Lanka. The collection arrived at the height of Mendis mania, with eight wickets in the opening Exam offering Sri Lanka an innings get. But he was worked out by Virender Sehwag in the next Take a look at, the opener developing maybe his most effective Test innings, and with the same opener set to be in his way in the closing, was this why he was remaining out? Up right until the remaining, India experienced played him as properly as any aspect – they had faced him 16 instances in ODIs, with his bowling typical and economy amount towards India each and every his 2nd worst against any aspect. But then Randiv had hardly been a thorn in India’s side, with 12 wickets in 11 online games at an ordinary nearing 40.
A problems-dependent decide on, backing Randiv’s lanky, bouncy off-spin? A reduction of religion in Mendis? Or just a hunch? It remains a puzzling final decision, and for some it rankled even yrs later.
In 2017, former Sri Lanka cricketer and Environment Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga could retain silent no for a longer period and cried foul, declaring that the video game essential to be investigated. Former Sri Lankan athletics minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage also went on file, declaring that “certain parties” preset the match to make sure India’s victory.
This led to a enormous probe in 2020, which was carried out by the Unique Investigation Division of the Police. However, they couldn’t come across evidence of any wrongdoing just after questioning Aravinda de Silva (the chairman of selectors at the time), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka’s captain all through the 2011 Planet Cup) and Mahela Jayawardene.
The ICC, as well, rebutted all of these claims, categorically denying what Aluthgamage experienced alleged. The former sports minister experienced also claimed that a letter had been shipped to the ICC, asking them to examine the match – one thing ICC Anti-Corruption Device General Supervisor Alex Marshall rubbished in 2020.
“The ICC Integrity Device has looked into the current allegations pertaining to the ICC Men’s Cricket Environment Cup Closing 2011,” he claimed. “At this time, we have not been offered with any evidence that supports the claims produced or which would merit launching an investigation under the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. There is no document of any letter with regards to this make a difference sent by the then Sri Lanka Sports Minister to the ICC and senior ICC personnel at the time have confirmed they have no recollection of obtaining any such letter which would have led to an investigation. We have no cause to doubt the integrity of the ICC Men’s Cricket Planet Cup Closing 2011.” Emphatic.
Probably for Randiv it was only meant to be this way, with his wending vocation flecked with flashpoints. A closer look at his job, which commenced with him starting off as a medium pacer just before bowling spin to accommodate his U-15 team’s requirements, tells you that Randiv has virtually often located himself in cases no a person envisioned him to be in. Now, he has relocated to Australia, the place he is doing work as a bus driver and plays club cricket every time he can.
Already, in 2010, Randiv had ruffled India’s feathers, showing to have deliberately bowled a no-ball to deny Virender Sehwag an ODI hundred at Dambulla. Sehwag, who wasn’t pleased with the off-spinner’s antics, remarked that Randiv, thinking of his past no-ball file, experienced completed so willingly.
“Yes, it was completed intentionally. Because [of the size of the no-ball] … that considerably from the crease. Until now in Test matches he has not bowled a no-ball [although he bowled two at the P Sara Oval], he hasn’t bowled no-balls in a person-day cricket, on 99 only why did he bowl a no-ball? And not a little no-ball, not a small margin, from one foot forward,” Sehwag mentioned.
Sangakkara, who was captaining Sri Lanka at the time, hoped that Randiv hadn’t pre-meditated this sort of tactics. “I hope it was not deliberate. That’s not the way I would like to participate in cricket. If that was intentional, and I have to locate out about that, it has acquired no put on the subject of cricket. I will also have to see if there was any chat about it on the discipline prior to that shipping and delivery.”
Probably that clarifies how Randiv has been fate’s favourite boy or girl at instances prior to transforming into a thing fully opposite the up coming minute. Or probably it does not. Both way, there are nevertheless thousands scratching their fingers, attempting to fathom how Randiv was referred to as upon to perform the Planet Cup remaining, ahead of much more established stars these kinds of as Herath and Mendis.
And what of the final itself? Randiv’s night was as uneventful as the instances bordering it were being eventful. He bowled 9 overs, took no wickets, and conceded 43 runs as Sri Lanka shed a shut tussle. Neither below nor there. And however a unusual put in history experienced been secured.