Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage is planning to take bull by its horn. He is going to impose a ban on players who do not sign central contracts with their respective sports bodies in future.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the minister said: “I am a great follower of fast bowler Lasith Malinga, (who was named the International Cricket Council as the official Event Ambassador for the ICC World Twenty 20 Sri Lanka 2012) but that does not mean that I condone all his actions. We have taken the cue from Malinga. In future if sportspersons who are performing at national level fail to sign their central contracts with their specific sports bodies, we will slap a two-year ban on them”.
The Minister added: “Malinga was discovered in Sri Lanka and was nurtured by us. He was nurtured through the system and became a world famous cricketer after wearing the national crest. With all that, if he is not going to oblige the governing body by not signing his central contract, it is bad.
“This is a trend that we must nip in the bud. I find fault with the administrators for not getting tough on the players. For instance, in the contract it is stipulated that a cricketer must be in the country at least two weeks prior to a tour. But, most of the cricketers who were engaged in the IPL returned to the island only a few days before the Pakistan tour. Yet, the SLC officials have not taken any action against anyone. As I understand most of them still even have not signed their central contracts. That’s bad.
“However in the future sportspersons engaged in any discipline at national level and do not sign the central contract will face the two-year ban”.
The Malinga episode began in 2008 when the cricketer who shone in the 2007 World Cup a year earlier and was nursing a foot injury by then was initially not offered the central contract and then paid Rs.1.5 million. Subsequently he was offered a contract and the Rs 1.5 million given to him was deducted.
However once Malinga attained IPL’s Mumbai Indian superstardom he initially retired from Test cricket in a bid to prolong his limited overs career and then kept away from signing the central contract last year.
The reason for Malinga not signing last year’s contract was that he did not get the full amount though he was promoted to the US$ 1 million top category in the contracts. He was eligible for only 40% of the sum due to his retirement from Test cricket.
Last week the Sunday Times also revealed that the SLC had scorned upon a request made by the bowler to draw up a tailor-made contract to suit him.