Sri Lanka’s top players locked in bitter pay dispute with board

Sri Lankan top cricketers, including test captain Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews, have refused to sign central contracts, citing dissatisfaction with the compensation offered by the island nation’s cricket council.

According to a report by the International Federation of Cricket Associations (FICA), a statement by the lawyer representing almost all of Sri Lankan’s top players said the proposed compensation was a third of what some other cricketing countries are offering to their players.

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If not settled in time, the dispute could affect Sri Lanka’s bilateral series with India in July, where six white ball matches are expected to fill the coffers of cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) .

The SLC said this week that it had offered 24 of its major players contracts under four categories and were given a deadline until June 3 to sign on the dotted line. Only six players are in the highest category A, their annual salaries ranging between $ 70,000 and $ 100,000. Drummer Dhananjaya de Silva draws the highest – $ 100,000 – with the others receiving $ 70,000 to $ 80,000 each.

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By comparison, India’s central contract players in the lowest category earn retention fees of around $ 137,000 or ₹ 1 crore per year.

The Sri Lankan players said in a joint statement that they were “shocked and dismayed” by the SLC’s decision to release the players’ specific payment details. “These revelations are a serious safety concern for every player,” they said in the statement.

Aravinda de Silva, the chairman of the SLC cricket advisory board, told reporters the board was forced to make a difficult decision based on the players’ past performances. “We wanted to have key performance indicators for the players so that we could assess them,” said de Silva, adding that the new compensation system was based on bonuses.

The players, however, have refused to take full responsibility for Sri Lanka’s poor performance in recent years and have argued that administrators and the local structure are contributing to the country’s decline in international rankings.

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