Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of England in June may be in jeopardy after 38 players refused to sign contracts offered by their Board. The Sri Lankan players have been at loggerheads with SLC over compensation and other issues. Both the parties have literally 72 hours to resolve the conflict as the team is scheduled to depart for England in the early hours of Wednesday, June 9.
The Sri Lankan players have criticised the Board and state that the new annual contracts lack transparency. There has been no central contract in place since last October when the previous round of contracts expired.
The number of players resisting to sign the contracts has risen from an initial count of 24 to 38. The main bone of contention is the grading system designed to assign the contracts and the transparency and objectivity around it.
“Because of the problems with the transparency of the ratings system devised by SLC, the players will not sign the tour contract," the release signed by 38 top players said.
There was also a legal objection to the contracts.
“The tour contract also refers to matters of the annual main contract for 2021, which is yet unsigned. In the event, the annual contract is not settled and a dispute is pending, the validity of the tour contract referring to an unsigned contract is also an issue," stated their lawyer Nishan Premathiratne.
The Sri Lankan players want only two criteria to be considered for the contracts - player performance and fitness. This is in odds with SLC who also take into consideration subjective parameters like account leadership, professionalism and future performance and adaptability.
This is the new request of the 38 players:
“In addition, the players have decided they will not sign the contracts until players who have performed well in past years are looked after fairly," the statement said.
The new contracts scheme had been drafted by the technical committee headed by Aravinda de Silva and SLC’s new director of cricket Tom Moody.
Players who have refused to sign the tour contract: Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Dananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Embuldeniya, Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana, Oshada Fernando, Ramesh Mendis, Lahiru Kumara, Danushka Gunathilaka, Ashen Bandara, Akila Dananjaya, Chamika Karunaratne, Asitha Fernando, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando, Avishka Fernando, Ishan Jayaratne, Charith Asalanka, Dananjaya Lakshan, Nuwan Pradeep, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kamil Mishara, Praveen Jayawickrama, Roshen Silva, Minod Bhanuka