Several senior players who are not part of the white-ball set-up are now without deals after SLC withdrew offer of annual contracts
SLC CEO Ashley de Silva confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the board would only offer a succession of tour contracts until the end of the year, because “the players had enough time to sign the central (annual) contracts but they didn’t”. Essentially, this is the board’s way of penalising players for making demands over their central contracts.
Unsurprisingly, this decision by SLC has caused significant distress among players. Firstly, those players who are not within the limited-overs frame have been left without contracts of any sort. Senior players such as Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal may not see a contract from SLC until November, when they are next due to play Tests.
Secondly, players who were holding out for better central contracts are now unhappy with those who agreed to sign SLC’s temporary tour contract – a move that essentially ended the contracts negotiation, because to sign the tour contracts was to concede to SLC.
“I don’t know how there can be unity in the team while all this is going on,” a senior player told ESPNcricinfo. “Some players are being blamed for being the first to sign the tour contracts, and others are defending themselves for doing that.”
Part-way through the England tour, the players had apparently decided to sign the annual contracts that SLC was offering. However, by the time the team returned from the UK on Monday, SLC had already made the decision to withdraw the central contracts it had offered. A first group of players then signed the tour contract for the India series on July 6, before the remainder of the squad followed.
de Silva said SLC would revisit the men’s central contracts again in 2022.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf