Sri Lanka deny claims players "deliberately underperformed" vs South Africa

Sri Lanka Cricket have hit back at claims that some of their players "deliberately underperformed" in the recent T20I series against South Africa.

Sri Lanka lost the series comprehensively, with South Africa completing a 3-0 whitewash that included two particularly dominant wins.

In the second T20I, South African won the game by nine wickets after they bowled Sri Lanka out for just 103.

The third and final game was even more dominant, with South Africa not losing a single wicket as they chased down their target of 121 with 32 balls remaining.

A report in a Sri Lankan newspaper then claimed that two players 'did not play to their full potential or deliberately underperformed' during the series, something Sri Lanka Cricket has moved quickly to deny.

In a statement, they said: "Sri Lanka Cricket vehemently denies allegations leveled by certain media reports, which cited that some of the players in the Sri Lanka National team, who played in the T20i series against South Africa, did not fully commit themselves or deliberately underperformed on the field.

"Sri Lanka Cricket has not received such a complaint from the ‘Team Management’ against any player of the National squad.

"Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to inform you that it was the same group of players who played in the ODI series which Sri Lanka won against South Africa.

"Sri Lanka not only won the ODI series vs South Africa 2 – 1 but also gained crucial points and climbed up in the rankings of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

"It is understood and acknowledged by the fans that the Sri Lanka National Team, since the recent past is, progressing forward by winning important contests and heading in the right direction.

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"Therefore, Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to request from the respective news organizations, which published the false and fabricated news item to follow ethical journalism practices, as such, false reporting will destabilize and scuttle the National Team’s preparations ahead of the crucial ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

"Such false reporting will also mentally affect the players, who are showing commitment and desire to count their presence in the team, as witnessed in the recent competitions, Sri Lanka played."

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