SLC shuts door on prodigal sons
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will get tough with national cricketers who wish to wield their professional options and attempt to dictate terms to the national body governing cricket in the country, sources said.
The SLC Executive Committee has decided that if any cricketer refuses to sign a contract with SLC, there is no need for them to provide any facilities to those cricketers, irrespective of whether they will be available for selection to play for Sri Lanka or not.
“Accordingly, if a player doesn’t sign a contract he will not be allowed to use any of the SLC resources such as practice and training facilities like the gym or indoor nets. SLC will also not look after them medically or meet their medical expenses whether they are local or overseas” said the source.
He said that the proposals would be submitted to the Sri Lanka Cricketers Association today together with the proposed contracts for this year. SLC is determined to implement the new rule as it seemed essential considering the recent developments and will definitely come into place, he added.
Sri Lanka Cricketers Association also felt it was a just clause in the professional environment which prevails.
“I believe it’s fair enough. If a player signs a contract, then he becomes an employee of SLC. But if a player does not sign it, then SLC has no obligation to look after his interests” said Sri Lanka Cricketers Association spokesman Ken de Alwis.
The issue became a problem for SLC only last year when star bowler Lasith Malinga refused to sign the SLC contract when he became the first Sri Lankan player to do so.
Malinga, widely considered the best T20 bowler in the world plays for the elite franchise Mumbai Indians in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) for an annual salary of well over a million US Dollars. He is in line to earn an SLC contract worth US 40,000 this year which will also severely restrict his freedom and also the earning capacity and there is a strong likelihood that the controversial star opting out of a contract again.
Malinga who was injured after playing a few games for the Mumbai Indians during the current IPL, returned to Sri Lanka for medical treatment and SLC offered him medical support though he is not one of their contracted players.
“Though he has no central contract, it is the SLC’S duty to look after the national players” said SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga when he was then asked why.
But the latest development demonstrates a definite shift in SLC’S attitude.
Malinga meanwhile told media that he prefers to remain a freelancer, but also reiterated that playing for the country remains his priority.
“But whether I decide to play with or without contract, does not really matter as I am still 100-percent available for selection for all ODI and T20 commitments for Sri Lanka just like I was last year” said Malinga.
De Alwis said that they have not yet received the full contract details which he said would reach them only today, and said that the contracts would only be signed once they have discussions with players and SLC.
De Alwis said that SLC hopes to sign them before the Pakistan tour which starts in Sri Lanka in less than two weeks and explained that they would have to act as an intermediary on terms of contract agreements.
Daily Mirror revealed exclusively on May 9 that the contract figures for the top players would not be increased this year despite them emerging the runners up in the World Cup last year, but de Alwis said that it is not likely to become a concern for the top players.
“Players earn their contract fees in US dollars. The Sri Lankan Rupee depreciated by something like 15 Rupees during the last year, so I believe that the players won’t mind a non-increment as they are anyway receiving higher figures this year. For example a player who had a US 100,000 contract last year will automatically be receiving an increment of more than Rs. 1.5 million” explained de Alwis.
By Channaka De Silva