Sri Lankan cricket board, top players locked in bitter pay dispute

Filed on May 21, 2021
Senior players Dinesh Chandimal (left), Akila Dananjaya (centre) and Angelo Mathews (right) are unhappy with the Sri Lankan cricket board. (AFP)

If the dispute continues, it could affect Sri Lanka's bilateral series with India in July

Sri Lanka’s leading cricketers led by Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne along with host of senior players, including Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews, have refused to sign the central contracts offered by the board which they believe is far less compared to other countries.

If the dispute continues, it could well affect Sri Lanka’s bilateral series with India in July, where six white-ball matches is expected to fill the coffers of a cash-strapped cricket board of the island nation.

A statement from the attorney representing almost all top players including the Test skipper Karunaratne, Mathews, Chandimal and others, said remuneration proposed to players are one third compared to some other cricket playing nations as per Federation of International Cricket Association (FICA) report.

The SLC this week said that 24 of the leading players had been offered contracts under 4 categories and they had been given a deadline until June 3 to sign on dotted lines.

In the categories released only six players are in the category A and their annual pay ranges between $70,000 to $100,000. Batsman Dhananjaya de Silva draws highest - $100,000 with the rest of them were to receive $70-80,000.

Just for comparative analysis, India’s group C (lowest category) centrally contracted players annually earn a retainership fee of $137,000.

The Sri Lankan players said in a joint statement that they were “shocked and dismayed” by SLC’s decision to go public with specific payment details of players.

They feel that public disclosure has affected their peace of mind.

“These disclosures amount to a grave security concern to each and every player,” it stated.

The chairman of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of the SLC, Aravinda de Silva, told reporters that they were forced to make harsh decision based on the past performances of the players.

“We wanted to have a key performance indicators for the players so that we could evaluate them,” De Silva said adding that the new pay scheme was an incentive based contract,

The players, however, refused to take the entire blame for Sri Lanka’s shoddy performances over the years.

They maintain the administrators and the local structure were contributory factors to Sri Lanka’s decline in international rankings.

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