The Sri Lanka men’s players’ rejection of their central contracts is “very unfair”, essentially because the board is offering more for winning series against top-ranked opposition. This is according to Aravinda de Silva, one of the architects of the new payment scheme.
The players have contended that the new system is not transparent however, and senior players, in particular, have felt that the proposal rewards future potential over performance and experience. They made their grouses public in a statement last week, after Sri Lanka Cricket had revealed the details – including specific salary figures – of the proposed scheme.
De Silva’s comments are an indication that SLC is unwilling to budge on contracts, despite player resistance. The new contracts system was devised largely by the technical committee, which de Silva heads, as well as director of cricket Tom Moody. According to de Silva, the new contracts have been modeled on kinds of contracts often offered in the corporate world.
“We discussed this matter in depth before we presented it to the players,” de Silva told Daily News. “Unlike in the past, we have increased the benefits three-fold than what it was but purely on the team’s performance… If they win a Test series, we pay them US$ 150,000 which was earlier limited to US$ 50,000. It has to be a collective effort by the whole team.”
De Silva, though, is only correct in a narrow sense about the incentives. This three-fold increase in incentive is only available if they defeat the No. 1 Test team in a series. There are far more modest incentives for beating lower-ranked sides. In fact, for teams ranked 6th and lower, the team would likely have earned higher sums under the old contracts.
The ODI series incentives follow a similar pattern – substantial increases on previous years for beating top-ranked teams, but more modest increases and sometimes decreases for defeating lower-ranked outfits.
De Silva did, however, correctly point out that: “We also introduced a slab for the T20 format, which also runs up to a maximum of US$ 50,000, which earlier didn’t have any rewards at all.”
The comments came after Sri Lanka lost the first two matches of the ongoing ODI series against Bangladesh, thereby surrendering the trophy.
“The most important fact is that they should get into the middle and play positive cricket and start winning games for the country rather than complaining,” de Silva said.
“This positive approach will encourage us to consider offering them more benefits, like some of the other countries in our region. If the team creates value, their incentives will also go up.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.