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Chaos after Sri Lanka players unite to reject central and tour contracts

The dispute over national cricket contracts took a fresh turn yesterday with players standing firm on a refusal to sign any form of agreement–central or tour–until their demand for transparency is met.

Their decision came just three days before team’s scheduled departure to England for the six match limited-over series (3 ODIs and 3 T20Is). It now casts doubt over the series as Sri Lanka Cricket says players must at least sign a tour contract to go.

“We have not received anything officially from the players yet,” said Ashley de Silva CEO Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). “But they need to sign at least the tour contract to go on the tour.” Players sent their letter yesterday.

Joining the 24 protestors are 14 others including Avishka Fernando, Roshen Silva and Nuwan Pardeep who were not considered for any form of contract despite performing well at national and international level during the period in consideration.

They are in unison demanding a revision of the overall scoring and ranking system which sees points being allocated on five attributes–performance, fitness, leadership, professionalism, and future potential and adaptability.

“Leadership, professionalism and future potential and adaptability are subjective matters. They want these subjective elements be removed and for points to be given only to performance and fitness as we have done in the past,” said Nishan Sydney Premathiratne, attorney-at-law representing all 38 players.

The performance during the last two years carries 50 points while 20 points are given for fitness. The other three attributes carry ten marks each. The allocation was done by the coach, the three selectors and the physical performance manager. The information is restricted to those involved in the grading process. But players unhappy about how they were slotted believe they have a right to know every detail of how their points were tabulated.

They argue that failure to disclose such information creates disharmony, raises reasonable concerns in respect of favouritism, and casts doubt as to the validity of the entire process. Their decision to reject any form of contract comes three days after discussions between cricket officials and players failed to bear fruit.

Members of the SLC Executive Committee headed by Shammi Silva and the Cricket Technical Advisory Committee headed by Aravinda de Silva held discussions virtually with player representatives on Thursday to reach a settlement over the ongoing dispute.

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