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October 29, 2008
Five Sri Lankan women's cricketers, including captain Shashikala Siriwardene, have claimed that their refusal to give up their pursuit of the game has cost them their jobs.
Siriwardene, a human resources assistant for clothing firm Slimline, told the BBC: "They told me to choose either cricket or the job." Chamari Polgampola, Shiromala Weerakkody, Chamika Bandara and Dilani Manodara were among the other members of the team who were employed by Slimline.
"For over two and a half years, the company helped me - offering duty leave, transport, medicine and sports facilities," Siriwardene said. The Sri Lankan women's team, unlike the men's team, does not get any assistance from the Sri Lankan board or sponsors. Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka Cricket chairman, though, has offered to find employment opportunities for the out-of-job players she said.
An HR director at Slimline, Shanaz Freena, said the players had given in their resignations voluntarily. "They submitted their resignations saying they got some other job offers and the team wanted to stay together," he said. We just accepted their resignations."
Sri Lanka are preparing for five ODIs against West Indies women at home to be played from November 5 to 12. "Money is not the main concern," Siriwardene said. "We are currently focused on winning against international teams and developing ourselves. We would like to see Sri Lankan fans come out to support us against West Indies."
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