Sri Lanka news February 27, 2014

Chandimal awarded top contract by SLC

Test and ODI vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal has been moved to the top earners' bracket, as Sri Lanka Cricket scrapped six national contracts in 2014, reducing their list from 23 players to 17. There were few other surprises in the list. Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera advanced to the second and third brackets respectively, while Kaushal Silva, who joins at the fourth rung, is the only new name in the contracts list.

Among those who have not had their contracts renewed, Dimuth Karunaratne and Nuwan Pradeep remain a part of the national setup, having played in both the UAE and Bangladesh Test tours. Suraj Randiv, Chanaka Welegedara, Upul Tharanga and Jeevan Mendis - who have been dropped or remained unavailable due to injury over the past year - are the other omissions from last year's list. 

The special category for players who are unlikely to play all formats swelled to three, with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga joining Test-specialist Prasanna Jayawardene there. Malinga had last year been a level one player, but he had only been eligible for a fraction of the pay the Test players in that same category had earned.

All 17 players will receive a 7% hike on their 2013 pay - an increase that is driven by the team's rankings in limited-overs cricket. The players receive a 2% increase for their fifth rank in ODIs and a 5% raise for their top rank in Twenty20 cricket. Having played only seven Tests in the past 12 months - four of those against Bangladesh - Sri Lanka remained below fifth on the Test rankings, and the players are ineligible for an increase for that format.

SLC has further incentivised players' contracts by tying a one-off bonus to individual rankings. Kumar Sangakkara is the major beneficiary of the new system, receiving a payment equivalent to 10% of his annual salary for his top-five rank among both Test and ODI batsmen. Rangana Herath earns a 6% bonus for his top-ten rank in Test and ODI bowling, while Dilshan gets a 3% payment for his top-ten place in ODI batting. High ranks in Twenty20 cricket are worth less than for the other formats, and Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara earned a 3% and 2% payment respectively, for their third and ninth rankings.

A dispute over 2013's contracts had led to a 24-hour lockout for the players last year, largely over the non-payment of 25% of the board's earnings from ICC events. Though the players had signed last year's contracts on the understanding that payment may be re-introduced in future years, the players remain ineligible for that payment under the new contracts.

Full list of contracted players
Category 1: Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal
Category 2: Lahiru Thirimane, Ajantha Mendis
Category 3: Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera
Category 4: Shaminda Eranga, Sachithra Senanayake, Kaushal Silva, Suranga Lakmal
Special category: Prasanna Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here