The months-long contracts standoff between Sri Lanka Cricket and its national players has come to an end at long last, with 18 players signing up. The new contracts will be in effect for a period of five months from August 1 to December 31.
"The players signed the contracts without any deviation from the contracts offered previously," SLC said in a media release.
Of the original 24 players offered contracts, six players - Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha - have been left out.
While Mathews' omission was down to him being unavailable for selection, Gunathilaka, Dickwella and Mendis had all been handed bans since the contracts were initially tabled. Udana, meanwhile, has since retired from international cricket, while Rajitha's omission, it is understood, is down to his lack of game time due to a poor recent injury record.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Avishka Fernando, Asitha Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne will also be offered these new contracts, subject to approval from the SLC executive committee.
"The players were chosen under four categories and were nominated by the Selection Panel, based on a set of criteria such as Performance, Fitness, Leadership/Seniority, Professionalism/Code of Conduct, and Future/Adaptability," the release said. "The criteria and the allocation of points to individual players were shared among the players before they signed the contracts."
The contracts, which contained a lower base salary and several performance-based incentives, had initially been offered in May. The players had, however, unanimously decided against signing them having deemed them "unfair and non-transparent".
Much of their discontent stemmed from the lack of transparency surrounding the player-assessment model, something which had also seen several senior players receive significant pay cuts. As reported previously by ESPNcricinfo, the new contracts process, devised largely by director of cricket Tom Moody and SLC's technical advisory committee headed by Aravinda de Silva, supposedly gave 50% weightage to performance since 2019, 20% to player fitness, and 10% each to leadership, professionalism, and future potential and adaptability. The players claimed, though, that none of them knew how much any of them scored on these criteria, and that their scores should have been revealed to them.
It is understood the players, while still holding some reservations, were generally happy to sign up having gone several months signing contracts purely on a tour-by-tour basis.
SLC is also believed to have given assurances over certain "deficiencies" being rectified when the contracts are up for renewal at the end of the year.
"Some players were given a higher contract than others who deserved them. If we were in office at the time, we would have gone through the initial assessments in detail. There were certain injustices that need to be rectified," an SLC official told ESPNcricinfo.
Players who signed national contracts: Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Embuldeniya, Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Ramesh Mendis, Lahiru Kumara, Ashen Bandara, Akila Dananjaya