According to the Sunday Times, fast bowler Lasith Malinga is understood to be unhappy with the central contract offered to him. Despite being Sri Lanka’s most lethal pace bowling option, Malinga had been awarded a Category 4 contract.
Ajantha Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Thushara, Rangana Hearth, Prasana Jayawardana and Thilina Kandamby were also awarded a Category 4 contract. And going by those names, it’s clear that Sri Lanka’s fastest bowler, and by far the best fast bowler in the country deserves much better.
"After the game Malinga has spoken to the team management and said that he was not happy about his placement in the fourth slot while Nuwan Kulasekera is in the second slot and Angelo Mathews in the third slot placed above him," the Sunday Times reported on 25 July 2010.
Shortly after the Sunday Times broke the news, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) upgraded Malinga to a Category 2 contract.
Then, the following weekend, Sunday Times posted this:
Sri Lanka Cricket’s Media Manager Brian Thomas writes to the Sunday Times and says “We refer to the above caption which appeared in your Sports Column, on Sunday the 25th of July 2010. Lasith Malinga has confirmed to us that he did not make a statement to your newspaper, with regard to his player contract, and he had vehemently denied that he is unhappy with the administration.
We shall greatly appreciate if you could clarify your doubt with team manager Mr. Anura Tennekone, after which we request you to make a correction at your earliest since your caption is detrimental to SLC and also the player concerned.
According to the SLC Media Manager, Malinga has confirmed that he had not made a statement to the paper and "vehemently denied that he is unhappy with the administration."
Aney.. aney.. Brian. If you want a correction then get the story right.
In the original article published on the Sunday Times, the Times has neither claimed that Malinga made a statement to them, nor have they said that he is unhappy with the administration.
The following is the piece in full from the Times:
The Sunday Times reliably understands that ‘slinger’ Lasith Malinga who bamboozled the Indians and paved the way for that memorable win has expressed dissatisfaction about his placement in the contract pecking order.
After the game Malinga has spoken to the team management and said that he was not happy about his placement in the fourth slot while Nuwan Kulasekera is in the second slot and Angelo Mathews in the third slot placed above him.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, T.M. Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera and Muttiah Muralitharan are placed in the top slot.
In response to Brian Thomas’s nonsense, the Times wrote:
We stand by our story. Earlier we learned that Malinga was unhappy about the way that the contracts were handed out to the players. We subsequently got to the player concerned through one of our contacts, who is one of his close confidantes, who confirmed the prevailing situation.
Then even his manager Mr. Charlie Austin confirmed that Malinga had been moved to the second slot [Category 2] in the player contracts, which was also confirmed by the SLC Interim Committee Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. When we wrote the article he was in grade four [Category 4].
This is pretty embarrassing for you, Mr. Thomas. As Media Manager, will you issue a statement to us clarifying the matter? Or better yet, don’t confront and corner a player ever again after they speak to the media? Clearly Malinga was disgruntled for the right reasons, and clearly it is because he deserves better that your Interim Committee and the selectors decided to upgrade his contract upon hearing about it in the media. Questioning a player about his comments to the media can also be considered a form of intimidation. Which, by the way, goes against everything your position as Media Manager stands for.