Sri Lanka news December 7, 2011

SL players to get part payment of outstanding dues

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Sri Lanka sports minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, has said that the Sri Lanka players would be paid 65% of their dues within the next two weeks, while the balance amount would be paid by January 15 next year.

"We will be able to complete the full payment by January," Altuthgamage told the Sri Lankan parliament on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has not paid their players their salaries since the 2011 World Cup ended in April after running up debts of US$32.5 million to finance the building of two international cricket stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and to renovate the ground in Colombo, for the World Cup.

Aluthgamage said that the ICC had agreed to pay US$2 million to SLC and that the coach and players would be paid out of those funds. The Sri Lankan Cricketers' Association (SLCA) has contacted the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) seeking assistance over the delay in the cricketers' salaries for series following the World Cup this year.

South Africa's cricketers lent their support to the Sri Lanka players ahead of the upcoming bilateral series between the sides, saying it was a credit to the Sri Lanka team that they had kept going, but the issue needed to be resolved soon.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, said the board had told him they would try and sort out the payments within the next week. " We discussed with the Cricket Association last week and they promised it will be sorted out before the Test match, Dilshan told reporters at a press conference in Benoni. "I can't push more than that. I'm here to play cricket. I have to focus on that."

Dilshan also thanked the South Africa players and FICA for their support. "It [statement by SA cricketers] has definitely helped. Thanks to Graeme Smith and AB [de Villiers] for giving a statement, and to FICA."

Sri Lanka have struggled since the World Cup, losing Test and ODI series to Australia, England and Pakistan. But Dilshan said he didn't think that the payment saga had affected his team's performances. "We try to play good cricket. Everyone wants to play cricket. We are not worried about payments. We know it is important but we have come here [South Africa] to play cricket. That's the main target as a team."