Colombo: Reacting strongly to the comments from little-known Bollywood actress Nupur Mehta – whose name surfaced during the recent match-fixing allegations in London - that she has been dating Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC) has released an email rubbishing any such claims.
Mehta's name cropped up in the news last week when the Sunday Times published an image closely resembling her in an investigative piece on illegal bookies. The paper said that a Bollywood starlet was used to lure Pakistan cricketers to underperform during the 2011 World Cup semi-final, but did not name her.
Mehta vehemently rejected allegations that she was involved in fixing last year's World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali. Her latest comment, to Mail Today, has drawn a strong reply from SLC.
"I was seeing Dilshan and went to the casino with him but that does not suggest I am involved with match-fixing in cricket," she was quoted as saying on Wednesday. "That is my personal life and my relationship cannot be made the basis of such a big allegation. I am a single, attractive girl and have the liberty to move around in any part of the world and interact with whoever I want to."
Less than 24 hours later, SLC released a statement on Mehta's allegations, via email. "We have read with concern the recent media reports pertaining to a Sri Lankan national cricketer – TM Dilshan and regret to note that during a period, such as this, where TM Dilshan is performing to the best of his abilities representing Sri Lanka in all formats of the game, with a Test Series against England about to commence on March 26th 2012- such a story has been given wide publicity in the media,” read the statement.
"Sri Lanka Cricket stands by TM Dilshan at this critical time and condemns the accusations/comments made in the said article. As you are well aware, Dilshan, who is a former captain of the Sri Lanka national team and an iconic Sri Lanka national player, would undoubtedly have a large following of fans from all parts of the globe. Sri Lanka Cricket does not intend on commenting on the said story any further in view of its baseless nature."