Sri Lanka Cricket to contract 76 players
The Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee (IC) has decided to increase its number of contracted players to 76 after a meeting on Friday.
The national players missing out from last year are batsmen Michael Vandort, Chamara Kapugedera and Chamara Silva and spinner Malinga Bandara. Spin sensation Ajantha Mendis, promising allrounder Angelo Mathews, fast bowler Thilan Thushara and batsmen Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura have been offered contracts in the national squad.
IC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that in addition to the 20 national cricketers and 15 players from the 'A' team, a further 41 players will be contracted on the following basis - 17 cricketers from the Development Squad, 15 cricketers from Academy and nine from Sixes and Twenty20 specialists.
"We have decided to contract 15 players from the academy who will be between the ages of 19 and 22," Ranatunga said. "This is to prevent talented cricketers from the schools being lost due to job and other related factors. These cricketers will be upgraded to the development squad each year depending on their performances and new players recruited to the academy."
Ranatunga also said that the national cricketers, most of whom are currently playing in the IPL in South Africa, would sign their new annual contracts which started from April 1, 2009 on their return. He further said the team for the World Twenty20 would be selected shortly and they would leave for England on May 28. The World Twenty20 will take place from June 5-21.
The secretary also said SLC would advertise for a permanent coach for the Sri Lanka A team and for the development squad. With former Sri Lanka cricketer Chandika Hathurusingha, who was a successful A team coach being elevated to the national team as a shadow assistant coach for batting, the A team coach position has become vacant. Ranatunga said another former Sri Lanka cricketer Romesh Kaluwitharana has been temporarily appointed to fill the vacancy. He said that Kaluwitharana could apply for the post when it is advertised.
The IC also decided that in future the chairman, secretary and CEO will represent Sri Lanka at all 2011 World Cup committee meetings. Earlier it was the sports minister-appointed officials who attended such meetings.
The following are the SLC contracted players.
National Squad: Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardena, Chaminda Vaas, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Prasanna Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Farveez Maharoof, Thilan Samaraweera, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Angelo Mathews, Thilina Kandamby, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura.
Sri Lanka A Squad: Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Tharanga Paranavithana, Malinga Bandara, Rangana Herath, Dammika Prasad, Chamara Silva, Mahela Udawatte, Gihan Rupasinghe, Suranga Lakmal, Kaushal Silva, Chanaka Welegedara, Isuru Udana, Chaminda Vidanapathirana, Dinesh Deshapriya and Milinda Siriwardena
Development Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne, Sachithra Senanayake, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Lahiru Thirimanna, Shalika Karunanayake, Ashan Priyanjana, Jeewan Mendis, Suraj Mohamed, Kanchana Gunawardene, Nadeera Nawala, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dinesh Perera, Madura Lakmal, Sujeewa de Silva, Tharanga Lakshitha
Academy Squad: Kusal Janith Perera, Angelo Perera, Vimal C Perera, Umesh Karunaratne, Chathuranga de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Madawa Warnapura, Roshen Silva, Shashendra Gunathilake, Lahiru Gamage, Malinda Pushpakumara, Ishan Jayaratne, Prabath Priyankara and Navin Kavikara.
Sixes and Twenty20 specialists: Dilhara Lokuhettige, Kaushal Weeraratne, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Chinthaka Jayasinghe, Indika de Saram, Gayan Wijekoon, Jeevantha Kulatunga, Hasantha Fernando and Nuwan Zoysa.