Lankan cricketers to play without payment in Oz tri-series
Melbourne: The Sri Lankan players have played without being paid adequately by their cricket board in the last few months and little has changed now as they will feature in the upcoming tri-series in Australia in the same financial crisis.
Sri Lanka`s players are owed as much as USD five million and the due payments date back to last year`s World Cup, which it co-hosted with India and Bangladesh.
The Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) fears the poor state of Sri Lanka Cricket`s (SLC) finances leave them at risk of becoming insolvent without a cash bailout from the country`s government.
The ICC intervened in December when it bypassed the board and facilitated a direct USD 2 million payout to Sri Lankan players.
The players are still owed a further USD 2.3 million from the World Cup, plus money from outstanding payments for matches against England, Australia, Pakistan and South Africa in the past eight months.
Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene is hoping that the players will get their dues soon.
"The newly elected committee is trying to sort things out. It eventually will happen. Until then we just need to try and concentrate on cricket, just move on and get on with it," Jayawardene was quoted as saying by a leading daily.
"Financially it is a burden for some of the guys, so we need to make sure they`ve got that security, knowing that they will get paid, so we can keep their focus on their game," Jayawardene said ahead of the tri-series beginning on Sunday in Melbourne with India taking on Australia in the opener.
In this crisis situation, the players have the temptation to play in lucrative Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League or even the Big Bash League in Australia.
FICA chief executive Tim May said if the situation does not improve, it will hurt Sri Lanka cricket in a big way.
"There`s a lot of opportunities for cricketers to earn a significant amount of money, in fact more than they can playing for their board, in other countries," May said.
"They`ve got families, they`ve got mouths to feed, they`ve got mortgages to pay etc, then they`ll look at their opportunities. That would be a tragic situation for Sri Lanka Cricket.
"They desperately need to do something. They desperately need to find funding so they can pay outstanding debts, not only to cricketers but also hotel chains, air carriers etc and other creditors such that they can get their act together and operate properly as a governing body for cricket in that country," he added.