But suddenly, news regarding the return of Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara from retirement shook everyone. The Island, a popular newspaper in the island nation, claimed that SLC's chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya convinced Sangakkara to play the series deciding ODI. The news was published online on Friday.
The newspaper even used quotes from former captains Jayasuriya and Sangakkara.
"Sanga has been in good form for Surrey in county cricket and he has agreed to play at least until September," Jayasuriya told The Island.
“We have been talking to him for some time now, but we didn’t want to make it public as we wanted to surprise Bangladesh," he added.
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The Island newspaper's sports editor Rex Clementine with Lankan great Sangakkara FILE PHOTO
Meanwhile, Sangakkara told the newspaper, “I will be 40 this year and it was a huge call to make. Desperate times need desperate measures and given the status of the team, I have decided to come out of retirement.”
The news created so much buzz that a popular Bangladesh daily newspaper and some online portals uploaded the news before the match got underway. Unsurprisingly, it went viral on social media and the internet.
However, at the venue, there was no official confirmation that Sangakkara is indeed playing. Later, this correspondent suddenly realised that Saturday was April 1. It can be an “April Fool's Joke” after all!
A few moments later, it was confirmed that Sangakkara is not playing.
After the match started, this journalist met Rex Clementine, who is the sports editor of The Island. He did the story and successfully implemented the prank. He told Dhaka Tribune how the prank was plotted and sported a big smile after hearing that some online portals had already uploaded it, earning hundreds and thousands of shares.
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Clementine with Sri Lanka Cricket's chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya FILE PHOTO
“Actually, we often do this kind of stuff for fun in this date. After the idea came to my mind, I talked to Kumar (Sangakkara). He was laughing after hearing this at first and jokingly said don’t make it big. I told Kumar to answer his phone calls cautiously as people might call him for enquiry,” said Clementine.
“I also told Sanath (Jayasuriya) about the prank as I was using those quotes. Jayasuriya also took it light-heartedly. Then I shared the idea with the The Island newspaper's editor and he approved it,” he added.
Interestingly, Sangakkara was not even in Sri Lanka when the news went viral in Bangladesh. Sangakkara was on the flight to Surrey, for county cricket.
Earlier, The Island newspaper also published an obituary with the headline “RIP Sri Lanka Cricket” after the home side lost to Bangladesh in the second Test at P Sara Oval in Colombo.