Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and its problems don’t seem to take a backstage at all. Over the past 2-3 years, the internal conflict between the players and board has adversely affected the Asian Cricket Giant from Emerald Island.
In the latest turn of events, Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne entered into a war of words with Sri Lankan legend, Muttiah Muralitharan. This tussle happened as a result of the ongoing contractual issues between the SLC Board and players.
Before the ongoing Sri Lanka v India bilateral series, the board announced a list of new performance-based contracts for the Men’s National Team. The new guidelines saw the fees of players cut by a massive 40 per cent. Both Mathews and Karunaratne were expelled from the central contract list based on their performances over a considerable period. As a result, both Sri Lankan players were left out of the squad to face India in 3 ODIs, followed by 3 T20Is as well. The other players who were under the hammer accepted the new contractual norms after repeated discussions with the board.
The off-spin maestro did not like the ruckus created by the two senior players and hit out at them in an interview last week. Muralitharan blamed the duo for being the main reason behind the aforementioned contractual chaos, which in turn is harming the environment and performance of the cricket team. He also put Sri Lanka’s horror showing in England, where they were comprehensively whitewashed by the hosts as an outcome of the ongoing controversy in Sri Lankan Cricket.
But to everyone’s surprise, the Sri Lankan pair did not hold back and replied to the legend through an official letter. They called him out for being unprofessional and uninformed. Also, such harsh comments on their dedication towards the national team and prioritizing money were unacceptable.
“It is unfair and untrue that you state that the issue in the contracts was purely money,” the duo wrote.
The letter further read, “We feel that you were not properly informed of the correct sequence of events, or was possibly given wrong information. Possibly by parties who wish to create a rift between the players and the administration and create disharmony. So, from the start of this program, you seemingly showed a great degree of dissatisfaction and hatred against the entire team and us, where we were referred to by name. Is it fair for you to state, that no contract should be awarded to any player because they asked for transparency?”
This off the field controversy following the one in England, where three major players of the first team, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella were suspended following a bio-bubble breach, are not good signs for Sri Lankan Cricket.
This mess is being reflected on the field as well where Sri Lanka has already gone down 0-2 in a 3-match ODI series against India after yesterday’s defeat. The 2014 T20 World Cup winning team is in the stage where they have to go through qualifiers to participate in T20 World Cup 2021 to be held later this year in the UAE and Oman.