Eyebrows were raised when Kumar Sangakkara, and not regular captain Mahela Jayawardene, walked out to toss in Monday's last Super Eights match against England in Pallekele.
Both Jayawardene and designated vice-captain Angelo Mathews were part of the playing eleven, but the team sheet had senior pro Sangakkara as skipper in an extraordinary turn of events.
Jayawardene explained later the change was made to prevent him and Mathews from missing out on the semi-finals since both of them were already serving a one-match notice for slow over-rates.
India’s former ICC umpire Suresh Shastri didn’t find anything wrong in the move. “It’s not against the spirit of the game.
There’s no violation of laws. It is as simple as changing the batting order for different game,” said Shastri.
“Sri Lanka can name any eligible player as captain for a match during this tournament as long as it is done at the toss,” clarified ICC official Lucy Benjamin.
"The intention was not wrong," Jayawardene revealed after his team's 19-run win over England. "I had a warning for an over-rate issue, and if it happened again I could have missed the next match. It's a tough system and it's tough to bowl 20 overs in one hour and 20 minutes in a tournament like this.
"We try our best, but the penalties are harsh. We don't want to miss the big games, so we did it with the right intentions.
"Angelo Mathews was on the same offence, so if he got nailed he would have missed the game as well. We had to find someone who didn't have a rap sheet and Kumar fitted the bill."
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