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Sri Lanka cricketers reject to sign annual central contract

The Sri Lanka national cricket team players have refused to sign the annual central contract, alleging a lack of transparency from the cricket board.

A lawyer representing the cricketers said they did not agree with a new performance-based pay scheme designed by a cricket board panel that included former Australia star, Tom Moody.

The players have already been showing resistance towards the contracts scheme, which they believe lacks transparency and does not adequately compensate senior players, reported ESPNcricinfo.

Thirty-eight Sri Lanka cricketers have signed a statement refusing to sign the tour contracts and it is an increase from 24 players who had previously made their resistance to the new scheme.

“Players refuse to sign annual and tour contracts until the pay dispute is resolved,” lawyer Nishan Premathiratne said in a statement.

“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.

“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,” ESPNcricinfo quoted the players’ lawyer as saying.

The statement came as Sri Lanka Cricket extended the June 3 deadline until Sunday.

The statement said players will take part in the upcoming tour of England where they are due to play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches without contracts.

“Even when players are refused pay, they will play for the country because that is their main objective.”

Under the proposed pay structure, former captain Angelo Mathews and current Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne suffered the biggest cuts.

Mathews’ annual fee fell from $130,000 a year to $80,000 while Karunaratne was offered $70,000, a drop of $30,000.

When the new pay plan was unveiled last month, players said it was “non-transparent” and urged Sri Lanka Cricket to not hold them at gunpoint.

Players also accused the board of violating confidentiality by publicly disclosing their proposed salaries.

There was no immediate reaction from the board, but it has said that players could earn more under the new performance-based scheme formulated with the help of former skipper Aravinda de Silva, and Moody.

Players who have refused to sign the tour contract are: 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.

The 24 national players were offered annual contracts with all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva and wicket-keeper Niroshan Dikwella getting the highest remuneration of $100,000 each. However, both have also rejected the new pay deal, according to their lawyer.

Sri Lanka Cricket officials said the base fees in the new contracts were in addition to payments for each match as well as allowances for travel outside Colombo.

SLC president Shammi Silva said last month that he believed players had the potential to earn more and help Sri Lanka improve its rankings.

Sri Lanka is ranked eighth out of the 10 Test nations, ninth in one-day internationals, and eighth in the Twenty20 rankings.

-With input from agencies

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