Sri Lanka’s limited-overs tour of England, due to start later this month, has been thrown into doubt after an escalation in the dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and the players.
Sri Lanka Tour of England Gets in Oscillation
All 24 members of the squad announced on Friday are among the 36 signatories of a statement released on Saturday which explains their refusal to sign new central contracts.
The deadline set by SLC for the contracts to be signed passed on Thursday, and with no resolution, there are likely to be temporary contracts put in place to cover the tour, a device that has been used since the previous central contracts expired last October.
There is little time for significant negotiation, with the squad due to depart in the early hours of Wednesday morning, though the players stated that their “first priority is to play for our country” and that they would continue to do so “even if Sri Lanka Cricket refuses to pay us at all”.
Contracts have been offered to 24 players, down from the 30 who previously had deals. In addition to improving their own pay and conditions, the 24 want more of their colleagues to be retained.
“Because of the problems with the transparency of the rating system devised by SLC, the players will not sign the [tour contract],” the release signed by 38 top players said.
Their lawyer, Nishan Premathiratne, told ESPNcricinfo that in addition to refusing the tour contracts on principle, there was also a legal objection to these contracts.
“The tour contract also refers to matters of the annual [main] contract for 2021, which is yet unsigned,” he said. “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.”
SLC says the new arrangements are intended to incentivise good performances, with the team having won just one of their last eight series in all formats, but they have been denounced by the players’ lawyer for being “unfair and opaque”.
Aravinda de Silva, the former Sri Lanka captain who now works at SLC and helped to create the proposed new pay structure, said last week that players “should get into the middle and play positive cricket and start winning games for the country rather than complaining.”
England vs Sri Lanka Schedule
|Jun-18||One-Day Practice match||St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury||3:30 PM|
|Jun-20||T20 Practice match||County Ground, Hove||6:30 PM|
|Jun-23||1st T20I||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff||10:30 PM|
|Jun-24||2nd T20I||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff||10:30 PM|
|Jun-26||3rd T20I||The Rose Bowl, Southampton||7:00 PM|
|Jun-29||1st ODI||Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street||3:30 PM|
|Jul-01||2nd ODI||Kennington Oval, London||5:30 PM|
|Jul-02||3rd ODI||County Ground, Bristol||3:30 PM|
Sri Lanka squad
Kusal Perera (c), Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Isuru Udana, Binura Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Shiran Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando and Ishan Jayaratne.