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Sri Lanka cricketers refuse to sign new contracts



Colombo, March 3: Sri Lanka's national cricket team members refused to sign new contracts after a deadline expired, the Sri Lankan cricket board said Sunday.

The cricketers, including the current captain Angelo Mathews and senior players in the calibre of Kumar Sangakkara refused to sign the contacts over a dispute on the payments offered to the players, Xinhua reports.

The Sri Lanka cricket board said that it has now been instructed by the Sports Ministry to pick a new team for a scheduled series against a visiting Bangladeshi team scheduled to commence this week if the current team members refuse to agree to the terms offered by the board.

Sangakkara, who was picked to play against Bangladesh in a practice match Sunday, was dropped from the team at the last minute for failing to sign the contract.

The Sri Lankan cricket team was given time till Saturday to sign the new contracts but after they had failed to do so the island's sports minister Sunday informed the cricket board to pick a new team for the Bangladesh series if the players don't sign the contracts, the Sri Lankan cricket board said.

 Sri Lanka and Bangladesh face each other in a Test and One Day International series beginning March 8 and a Twenty 20 match thereafter.

Angelo Mathews was picked as the captain for the series while Dinesh Chandimal is the vice captain. Chandimal was selected as the caption for the Twenty 20 match.

The Sri Lankan cricketers and the cricket board had been embroiled in similar contract issues even last year, threatening a game which is hugely popular in the country after the team won the World Cup in 1996 beating Australia in the final.

© IANS
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