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05 March 2024

Sri Lanka cricket crisis ends thanks to Jayasuriya

By Staff

All national cricketers have agreed to sign the contract with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) after a lengthy meeting on Sunday night at SLC headquarters, National Chief Selector Sanath Jayasuriya said, according to the Daily Mirror.
Jayasuriya intervened and met the national players at this meeting after all negotiations had failed between SLC and players.
This enables Jayasuriya to pick a full strength squad for the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Friday in Galle.

In a sign that there is no thawing in the standoff between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and 23 top players who have refused to sign a new contract, Kumar Sangakkara has not been allowed to play in a three-day game against Bangladesh which begins Sunday at Matara.

Sangakkara was to feature in this practice game after returning after a layoff from an injury sustained during the Australian tour.

But SLC will not grant him permission to play because he has yet to sign the annual contract, the Daily Mirror reported.

It was earlier reported that SLC has virtually issued an ultimatum to 23 of its top players to either sign a new contract or forget about playing in the forthcoming home series against Bangladesh.

The international careers of 23 national cricketers, including newly appointed Test vice-captain Angelo Mathews and his deputy Dinesh Chandimal, have been put into jeopardy with SLC refusing to back down on the contract dispute.

A meeting between the players and top officials of SLC aimed at resolving the imbroglio ended in a stalemate.

Instead they have been given until Sunday March 3 to put their signature on the dotted line or else a totally new team made of fresh faces who will sign contracts will be picked to face Bangladesh for the first Test which begins in Galle on Friday, according to the Daily Mirror.

National selectors headed by Sanath Jayasuriya will meet at Matara on Sunday and will only consider players who have given written consent to sign the annual contracts under present conditions without any amendments, the report added.


SLC has told its selectors not to consider those cricketers for any international cricket until the players agree to their new contract terms.

Players' contracts expired on February 28, and all 60 players who were offered new contracts have refused to sign them before the March 2 deadline prescribed by SLC.

"We spoke to all of the players present at the meeting, and gave our viewpoints and they also gave their points," SLC president Upali Dharmadasa told ESPN Cricinfo. "We have said, 'Nothing doing. We're going to stick to our guns.' It ended like that."

"They will not be getting any facilities that Sri Lanka Cricket has been offering them, including, physios, masseurs and coaches. They can't come for practice at our venues," he added.

The contract imbroglio arose after SLC's refusal to pay the players 25 per cent of the board's earnings from ICC events, which they have done since 2003.

Other sticking points include the board's move to freeze payment to cricketers taking part in the IPL for as long as he is with his IPL team and the scrapping of a perk that allowed players' wives to travel on one tour a year on SLC's money.

“We explained our position to the cricketers at the meeting. Though we have scrapped certain allowances of national players we still pay the players more than any other country. So we cannot agree to any of the player demands. We told them that unless they agree to sign the present contracts, they will not be considered for Test selection” SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told Daily Mirror.

Ranatunga said SLC had been playing the 23 national players 79 percent of SLC’s total annual income till this year.

“Even with the measures we have taken when we drafted this year’s contracts, we are still paying 67 percent of the total SLC income,” Ranatunga was quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.

Saturday's meeting summoned by SLC was attend by Dharmadasa, Ranatunga, SLC Vice-President Asanga Seneviratne and Assistant Secretary Hirantha Perera.
All national players including seniors Kumar Sangakkara, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Tilan Samaraweera, Lasith Malinga had attended the meeting apart from Mahela Jayawardene who is in Thailand on a private visit, it was reported.