After 38 Sri Lankan cricketers refused to sign the contracts for the upcoming tour of England, serious doubt has been cast over team’s scheduled departure for England on June 9.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play the first of the three T20Is against England June 23. The three-match ODI series will begin on June 29. Besides, they are to play two tour matches, against Kent and Sussex.

“Because of the problems with the transparency of the ratings system devised by SLC [Sri Lanka Cricket], the players will not sign the [tour contract],” a statement signed by 38 cricketers said.

“The players have decided they will not sign the contracts until players who have performed well in past years are looked after fairly,” it said.

The list of cricketers not willing to sign on the dotted line has gone up from the previous 24, before the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh last month, to 38.

The cricketers say the contract lacks transparency and does not “adequately compensate senior players”.

The cricketers are seeking transparency in the new system implemented by SLC, which reportedly gives 50 per cent weightage to performance since 2019, 20 per cent to player fitness, and 10 per cent each to leadership, professionalism, and future potential and adaptability.

The players say that they have no idea how much they have scored on each count and that their scores should be revealed to them. The players want that performance and fitness should be the only criteria for drawing up contracts.

“The tour contract refers to matters of the annual [main] contract for 2021, which is yet unsigned. In the event, the annual contract is not settled and a dispute is pending, the validity of the tour contract referring to an unsigned contract is also an issue,” the players’ lawyer, Nishan Premathiratne, told ESPNcricinfo.

–IANS

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