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Sri Lanka contracts crisis ends

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 4, 2013

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

Nuwan Kulasekara struck two early blows on the third day, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day, November 19, 2012
Nuwan Kulasekara is in the top tier in the contracts list © Associated Press
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Sri Lanka's top cricketers signed Sri Lanka Cricket's contracts on Monday, bringing the crisis to an official end, after having been frozen out by SLC during the weekend. A resolution appeared unlikely as late as Sunday afternoon, but a meeting between chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya and the players, approved by SLC, broke the deadlock and a four-tiered contracts list has since been issued.

The top pay category has been expanded from five players to seven, with new captain Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath joining Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga in the top bracket. Thilan Samaraweera, who was in last year's top tier, has been put in a special category with Prasanna Jayawardene, as both players will only be considered for Test selection. Twenty20 captain and Test and ODI vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal has been given a category two contract.

Lower down in the hierarchy Dimuth Karunaratne, Shaminda Eranga, Jeevan Mendis, Kushal Perera, Nuwan Pradeep and Sachithra Senanayake have all been offered central contracts for the first time. Dilhara Fernando, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chamara Kapugedara are the players to miss out, having held central contracts in 2012. Suraj Randiv has been reissued a contract despite not having been named in the squad for the first Test against Bangladesh.

List of SLC contracted players

  • Category 1:
  • Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara
  • Category 2:
  • Dinesh Chandimal, Ajantha Mendis
  • Category 3:
  • Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera
  • Category 4:
  • Shaminda Eranga, Chanaka Welegedara, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeevan Mendis, Suraj Randiv, Kushal Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep
  • Special category:
  • Prasanna Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera

SLC officials said they were pleased the players could begin focussing on cricket ahead, after the contracts issue had been resolved. SLC CEO Ajit Jayasekara said there would be no negative consequences for the players who had refused to sign their contracts by deadline. "As far as we are concerned, the matter is closed," he said.

Jayasuriya, who had personally set up the discussion that ended the deadlock, reiterated SLC's commitment to move past the dispute, and said agreement was reached amicably. "I explained to the players as the chairman of selectors, what we are trying to do in Sri Lankan cricket. They accepted that and were happy, and said that they would try. In the end they wanted to play for Sri Lanka."

The major contention for players was SLC's refusal to pay 25% of the board's earnings from ICC events as they have done since 2003. This payment was to compensate players for the use of their image by the ICC and its sponsors for the duration of the tournament. Although the players agreed to sign away that payment for this year, they had only done so in the hope that dialogue about that money would continue with SLC, with the chance for that payment to be reintroduced in future contracts.

An SLC release on Monday said that after the contracts were issued, the players had proposed investing part of their share from the ICC payment into cricket development, but this was rejected by the board, who felt "cricket development purview should be vested with the governing body, than with players in concern".

The release further said SLC expected to pay 67% of its 2013 revenue on the 23 players with national contracts. "If SLC agreed to grant the players' request to include the guarantee fee component to the contract value, SLC will have to bear 81% of its annual revenue towards the 23 Cricketers, leaving no provision for a successful all round year. SLC's stance towards this matter was maintained taking in to account all cricketing interests pertaining to Sri Lanka."

Mahela Jayawardene is the only player who has not yet signed a contract, but he is expected to do so when he returns to the country.

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

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Posted by Sal_H on (March 6, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Its very good news. No cricketer would want to miss playing for the national team for financial reasons, whatever they have to sacrifice.

Posted by Malij on (March 6, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

Wonder why don't they place Malinga who does not play test cricket also in special category. It is very unfair that two players, Dulip and Prasanna who had served Sri Lanka well in the past have been singled out for step motherly treatment. Malinga has proven again and again that he is reserving his best for the IPL and not for his own country that had given him everything. It is time that officials open their eyes and weed out such people from the squad.

Posted by SLMaster on (March 5, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

Those who are saying country comes 1st, they should remember it also applies to SLC too. Didn't the players played without money in last year or so. When Malinga got injured in 2007-2008 SLC scrapped his contract and left by himself until he came through IPL. Is that the cricket development and country comes first?

Posted by SLMaster on (March 5, 2013, 19:53 GMT)

I do not think SLC is going to use the money for good cause. This is where the issue is. Can anyone name a player that SLC brought to world class level in since 2000? Both Mahela and Sanga are makings of before 2000. There are good prospects but SLC investing on other. Malinga and Ajantha few after 2000 but SLC doesn't want to pay them to their potential. And it is not players getting 81% of the SLC revenue; it is SLC taking 19% from players and need more to operate. SLC doesn't have a solid revenue and good sponsorship. If one talks about revenue, what is the SLC income from SLPL? Big money for SLC is from player image, i.e. IPL, If a player doesn't earn money there is no money for SLC. It should be other way around SLC should have money even if player has no money.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

thanka mr.jayasuriya setting this problam...

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

Quoted # They being PROFESSIONAL SPORTSMEN, (when I say PROFESSIONAL, earning a living out of playing sports) It's their livelihood they are concern about. Wont we are our management for a raise or bonus when the company does well? any 1 may say, wel, they earn alot through sponsors as well; true that, does that mean just becos our part time job pays us well we shouldn't ask a raise from the company?

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

I would say Thisara Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne deserve at least category 2 contracts.

Posted by MaxG9 on (March 5, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

True, SLC is short of money. But the main reasons for this are wasteful expenditure, excess staff & excessive salaries & building of cricket stadiums way beyond their means. There is no way they can pay for these over the next 15 years even unless the Treasury ultimately agrees to forego the debt in part or in full. The annual operating income barely covers the annual operating expenses.

Having been excessively profligate in the past it is unfair to expect the only segment of their organisation who regularly performs at World class level, to share in the pain in an unfair manner. Remember your coffers will start flowing again only if you put quality players on the park.

People forget that it is only a relative few of the SL players who obtain lucrative IPL/Big Bash contracts &/or get the best sponsorship deals. Also, a players career is limited. Therefore all 60 contracted players should be adequately looked after & morale & pride in playing for ones Country will flow naturally.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

@ Rehan N Karyan> I raised ghe salary issue since Shamil had brought this issue in. When 23 players are going to share 81% of the revenue, don't you think they don't have any heart what the future of SL cricket has in store. The rest 19% to be used to cover the cost, delelop cricket in the country, pay all other 1stclass cricketers, conduct provincial & club tournaments etc.. It sounds so unrealistic. These players should think better. They already live luxary lives with allot in store for their future.

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