The crisis in Sri Lanka cricket has worsened as the 24 players, who were offered new contracts by Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC), have refused to acknowledge their agreements. The reason given by them is the lack of transparency in which the contracts have been allotted.
Nishan Premathiratne, the lawyer representing most of the players, including the Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne, stated that the remuneration proposed to the players is one-third of what other cricket playing nations get as per the Federation of International Cricket Association (FICA) report.
The attorney further stated that the board is keeping the players ‘at gunpoint’ to accept the contract offered to them till June 3.
Only six players fell under the highest Grade A in the categories released, with their annual pay ranging between $70,000 to $100,000.
Compared to the annual pay range with Indian cricketers, Group C – the lowest rank – earns an annual $137,000 or INR 1 crore.
“The players are not in agreement to sign unfair and non-transparent contracts and urge Sri Lanka Cricket to not hold the players at gunpoint,” Nishan said in a statement.
The Sri Lankan players said they were ‘shocked and dismayed’ by the SLC’s decision to announce the contract details publicly, and they felt the public disclosure affected their peace of mind.
“These disclosures amount to a grave security concern to each and every player,” the players said in the statement.
One of the players from the island nation who did not want his name disclosed stated, “We are more worried about the criteria adopted by the board in deciding the new scheme. They have published our pay. They must publish what is paid to Moody and the coach and other officials so people can decide if what is paid to us is reasonable.”
Former skipper Aravinda de Silva, the current chairman of the Cricket Advisory Committee of the SLC, and the director of cricket Tom Moody formulated the new contract based on performance-based incentives.
“We wanted to have key performance indicators for the players so that we could evaluate them,” de Silva said.