Sri Lankan cricket’s payment row deepened on Saturday as the players outright refused to sign a new contract with their board. However, they will still participate in the forthcoming tour of England.
Nishan Sydney Premathiratne, Attorney-at-Law, the official representative appointed by 24 members of the Sri Lankan cricket team, said in a statement that the players are unhappy with the pay scheme. The new contract reportedly reduces the base salaries of cricketers while introducing performance-based incentives.
“Players refuse to sign annual and tour contracts until the pay dispute is resolved… Even when players are refused pay, they will play for the country because that is their main objective,” said the statement according to AFP.
The statement came as Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) extended its June 3 deadline until Sunday (June 6).
The new plan, which was unveiled last month, has derived immediate strong reactions from Sri Lankan players. They urged the SLC not to hold them at ‘gunpoint’ by forcing a new contract just before they departed for a series against Bangladesh.
The players also accused the SLC of violating confidentiality by publicly disclosing their proposed salaries. The board has maintained a stiff silence about the issue but has claimed that players could earn more under the new performance-based scheme.
The program, designed by former Aravinda de Silva and Tom Moody, reportedly includes fitness, discipline and performance in international and domestic cricket over the last two years. The structure also considers leadership and overall value to the team as some of the factors to be taken into consideration for incentives.
While most senior players including Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne have suffered major cuts in payments, all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva and wicket-keeper Niroshan Dikwella have the highest remuneration of $100,000 each. However, the duo have also rejected the new pay deal.
The full schedule of Sri Lanka’s tour of England
Sri Lanka vs England 1st T20I: June 23, Cardiff
Sri Lanka vs England 2nd T20I: June 24, Cardiff
Sri Lanka vs England 3rd T20I: June 26, Southampton
Sri Lanka vs England 1st ODI: June 29, Chester-le-Street
Sri Lanka vs England 2nd ODI: July 1, The Oval, London
Sri Lanka vs England 3rd ODI: July 4, Bristol