Players strike in the offing
Jan 21, 2011

Young players of the Sri Lanka cricket team are feeling the pressure of unpaid salaries and are suf fering heavily from financial burdens and if the rich and f amous senior players begin even show semblance of solidartoaity with their junior mates, it can develop into a player strike at any moment to cripple the national team, sources told “Daily Mirror”.

SLC President Upali Dharmadasa merely said yesterday that the issue will be solved “within two weeks” but did not explain how he plans to actually do it.

A player strike like the infamous player strike resorted to by the West Indian players in 2009, which crippled their national team over a contract issue is very much a possibility as most of the young players are “dead broke”, the source added. Most of these players have taken housing loans and vehicle loans and are now being pressurized by banks as their re-pay instalments have been disrupted.

“We know how srich the senior players are. So, they don’t feel the ef fect of missing salaries and have not taken up the matter seriously so far. As long as the seniors don’t make a fuss about it, the SLC is not going to take a serious view of the problem” the source said.

“However it has now gone beyond tolerance level of junior players who have taken loans. But unless they get the support of their seniors, they hardly can do anything. You have to feel sor ry for the young blokes” he added.

“However, the moment seniors feel like taking a stand for their less af fluent colleagues, the problem will explode” he said.

Meanwhile, SLC had also refused to issue “No objection certificates” to the young players who sought them to make themselves available for the Bangladesh Premier League which will be played next month. It closed an alter nate avenue of income for the financially struggling youngsters, but SLC had been of the view that the players must make themselves available for the domestic Premier tour nament which has just started.

A junior player’s mother had recently made an appeal to the Sri Lanka Cricketers Association (SLCA) to help the family financially as they had been living on the US $ 1000 ear ned by the player, and they had felt the loss of income severely.

SLCA Spokesman Ken de Alwis refused to comment on the case but explained that SLCA can help one or two deserving players but did not have the strength to entertain a heavy load of such requests. He said that due to this reason SLCA is unable to help players financially on an individual basis even if they received such requests.

De Alwis agreed that there was a serious problem but ruled out the possibility of players resorting to le gal action against SLC.

“ICC still owes US $ 2.3 million to SLC as world cup payments. SLC has to submit answers to some ICC queries regarding the world cup accounts and once that is done, this amount will be received by the SLC. National players can be paid their salaries up to 2011 December when that amount is received. There is a meeting with the ICC scheduled for January 30 and issue can hopefully be solved there” explained de Alwis.

De Alwis however said that the Federation of Inter national Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has shown concer n that Sri Lanka cricketers have not been paid for so long fearing that it might create a precedent among other countries.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka