SLC has withdrawn its offer of yearly contracts to many veteran players who are not part of the white-ball setup.
The men’s limited-overs cricketers of Sri Lanka have signed tour contracts for the upcoming series against India. However, the decision of Sri Lanka Cricket to remove its offer of yearly contracts has generated widespread dissatisfaction among players.
Angelo Mathews is the only member of a group of 30 who has rejected to sign a tour contract for the India series. Despite the fact that an SLC announcement said that Mathews requested to be released of national duties due to “personal reasons,” Mathews’ decision is thought to have been influenced by his dissatisfaction with the contract offer and the broader scenario within Sri Lanka Cricket.
Because “the players had enough time to sign the central (annual) contracts but they didn’t,” SLC CEO Ashley de Silva revealed to ESPNcricinfo that the board will only issue a succession of tour contracts till the end of the year. This is essentially the board’s means of punishing players who make demands about their core contracts.
Unsurprisingly, SLC’s decision has generated a great deal of consternation among players. To begin with, those players who do not fit into the limited-overs category have been left without any kind of contract. Senior players like Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, and Dinesh Chandimal may not sign a contract with SLC until November when they are scheduled to play their next Test match.
Second, players who were holding out for better central contracts are now dissatisfied with those who decided to sign SLC’s temporary tour contract, which effectively terminated the contract negotiations because signing the tour contracts meant conceding to SLC.
“I’m not sure how the squad can stay together while all of this is going on,” a senior player told ESPNcricinfo. “Some players are being chastised for being the first to sign tour contracts, while others defend their actions.”
The players had allegedly chosen to sign the yearly contracts that SLC was offering halfway through the England tour. SLC had already decided to withdraw the central contracts it had given by the time the team returned from the UK on Monday. On July 6, the first set of players signed the tour contract for the India series, followed by the rest of the squad.
SLC will reassess the men’s central contracts in 2022, according to de Silva.