Having cut salaries last year, a now-financially stable SLC will return player payments to just above their previous levels. Some national players had had their earnings trimmed by as much as 30%, when SLC moved to a performance-based model of remuneration in 2017. But the board has now announced a raise of 34%, after posting profits of about USD 13.5 million last year. Match fees would also be increased for the 2018-19 season, an SLC release said.
"Since SLC has made good financial gains during the concluded financial year, we thought it is appropriate to give a pay raise for the players, as they are making a major contribution towards the growth of Sri Lanka cricket," board president Thilanga Sumathipala said.
Thirty-three top players have received contracts under the new pay scheme, with those players split into five tiers. The highest per-match earners will be ODI captain Angelo Mathews, Test captain Dinesh Chandimal, and seniors Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne and Suranga Lakmal, having received 'Category A' contracts. T20 captain Thisara Perera, meanwhile, has been awarded a third-tier 'Category C' contract.
The notable exception from previous years' contract list is Lasith Malinga, who has not been picked to play for Sri Lanka since September last year. Although he has repeatedly stated his availability for Sri Lanka, and has also played in domestic T20 competitions, the selectors, and now the board, have ignored him.
Sixteen players, many of whom are either on the fringe of the national team, or even those being strongly considered for selection (such as Lahiru Thirimanne), have been included on the fifth tier of the list. Somewhat confusingly, this is called the "Premier Category".
Category A: Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal
Category B: Upul Tharanga, Dilruwan Perera
Category C: Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dananjaya De Silva; Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera
Category D: Akila Danajaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Asela Gunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Nuwan Pradeep
Premier Category: Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lahiru Gamage, Vishwa Fernando, Lakshan Sadakan, Jeffrey Vandersay, Dasun Shanaka, Kaushal Silva, Shehan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Malinda Pushpakumara, Amila Aponso, Wanidu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Dilshan Munaweera.