18 Sri Lanka players sign contracts as standoff comes to an end

18 Sri Lankan cricketers have signed contracts to end their long-running standoff with Sri Lanka Cricket. According to ESPNcricinfo, the SLC has explained that the contracts have not deviated from those previously offered, and only six players of the 24 who were offered have been left out: Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha.

Matthews is unavailable for selection, while Gunathilaka, Dickwella and Mendis were all the subject of lengthy bans in between the signing of the contracts and their initial proposal. Udana has retired from international cricket and Rajitha has not enjoyed sufficient game time due to injuries.

The contracts were offered first in May, outlining a salary reduction and basing themselves on the merit of player performance. Sri Lanka’s players were untrustworthy of the player-assessment system, and believed the pay cuts were largely unfair. The contracts will be renewed at the end of the year, with any issues in the smallprint to be solved. The process has been led by the new director of cricket Tom Moody and the head of the SLC advisory committee Aravinda de Silva.

It does, at least, mean some positive progress in moving away from what has become a deeply-rooted crisis within the sport on the island, manifesting itself on the field with some limp, sub-par performances. Some healthy communication between the board and the players offers a route towards more positive pastures.