COLOMBO: A pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and its 23 centrally contracted players ended yesterday with the cricketers signing new contracts and making themselves available for the two-test series against Bangladesh starting on Friday.
The SLC and Sri Lankan sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had threatened to drop the 23 senior players if did not sign the new contracts by yesterday.
“Twenty two out of 23 players have signed the contracts which makes them available for the selection for Bangladesh test series,” SLC chief executive officer Ajith Jayasekera said.
Former captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is abroad, was the only player who did not sign his contract.
“The selection committee met (on Monday) and the team is in the process of approval,” Jayasekera added.
The contracts expired at the end of February but the players refused to sign a new contract by Saturday’s deadline. The SLC extended the deadline to yesterday.
SLC officials and Aluthgamage have said the players were demanding a pay of 75 percent of the board’s total earnings, while a senior cricketer said they were merely opposing SLC’s move to cut their terms.
A similar pay dispute threatened to derail last year’s Sri Lanka Premier League after the players said they would pull out of the tournament.
Galle hosts the first Test against Bangladesh from Friday while the second match is scheduled in Colombo from March 16.
In 2009, Bangladesh won two Test matches in the Caribbean after West Indies players staged a strike over pay.
Recently, Angelo Mathews has been named as Sri Lanka’s Test and one-day international captain for the rest of 2013.
Sri Lanka will also play three one-day internationals and one T20 international in Bangladesh.