Sri Lanka’s elite cricketers are set to feel the pinch soon when their national contracts are up for negotiations in six weeks time. Cricket sources told Sunday Island that the board is considering slashing players salaries by as much as 40% following the recent disastrous performance in the two match Test series against England.
Sri Lanka lost the first Test by seven wickets and the second Test inside four days by six wickets with the batting collapsing in both games as England won their sixth game in a row in Sri Lanka.
Although a performance based incentive for players was suggested by Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa recently, the initial suggestion to cut salaries had come within the board.
Accordingly, SLC is expected to cut down on annual retainers by almost half. As a result, a top player who had an annual contract worth US$ 120,000, will now only get somewhere in the region of US$ 70,000.
Apart from the retainers, SLC pays a player US$ 7500 for a Test match, US$ 4000 for an ODI and US$ 2000 for a T-20 International. There have been objections within the board to cut down retainers but the board now has little choice following the Sports Ministry directive. A cricket official said that while the board will be cutting down on retainers, they will be doubling up match payments if games are won.
Meanwhile SLC’s efforts to appoint a new selection panel has hit a roadblock following requests for transparency.
Following the resignation of Ashantha de Mel as Chairman of Selectors, SLC had put forward the name of former fast bowler Pramodaya Wickramasinghe to succeed as new chief selector. However, this has been rejected by the National Sports Selection Committee established by the Ministry of Sports.
It has been observed that SLC has been presenting only a limited number of names to be named as selectors but the National Sports Selection Committee has urged the board to be transparent in their process.
As a result, SLC has been asked to place an advertisement asking those interested in being part of the selection panel to apply to be selectors. Sources said that this practice is in line with the Sports Law.
The National Sports Selection Committee is headed by Army Commander General Shavendra Silva.
Sri Lanka’s next international assignment is in West Indies where they will play all three formats. In April, the national cricket team will play three Test matches at home against Bangladesh.