Sri Lanka Cricket increased the player contracts from 78 players to 99 for the forthcoming year. The Administrators under the guidance of the national selectors have grouped the contracted players into four categories.
Speaking at a simple ceremony held at the headquarters, Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket stated that players, who have been afforded this opportunity, are a privileged bunch, hence he advised all youngsters to take advantage of the given opportunity. The Chairman also stated that players from the “A” team, Under 23s Under 19s, including hopefuls from the development squads have been given contracts with a prime objective of helping players not only financially, but also to enable them to pursue a career in Cricket. He insisted that players should be disciplined, dedicated and devoted to the game.
Speaking to the youngsters, Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket Nishantha Ranatunga stated that youngsters should develop themselves, by taking advantage of the given opportunity. He emphasized that an excellent infrastructure is in place. He also stated that latest equipment have been sourced to help players develop their skill level. He told the youngsters to take Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardana as role models who have excelled to World standards due to sheer hard work and commitment. He requested players to refrain from alcohol and to condition themselves to be professionals. “Make use of this opportunity, so that your parents and your school coaches who brought you thus far will be proud of you” stated the Secretary in his speech.
Jerome Jayaratne, Head of Coaching at SLC spelt out the facilities that his department will provide for the young players. Jerome stated that the Coaching unit has specialized personal for batting, bowling and fielding. His unit he stated has a spin and a fast bowling clinic. He urged the players to condition themselves, stay focused, follow the advice given by the physiotherapists and the trainers and to concentrate on their fitness level which is of paramount importance for modern-day cricketing demands.
The players were also given a brief on the Provincial tournament structure by Chandima Mapatuna, Manager Tournaments of SLC.
Chief Executive Officer Ajit Jayasekera and Chairman SLC, D.S. De Silva handed over the official contracts to the players.
The current administration has not only developed International Stadiums, but are optimistic of developing playing facilities at all Districts and Provinces and to conduct extensive coaching programs even in the North and the East.
It is pertinent to note that their well thought out player investment plan has helped SLC to strengthen the back bench. Sri Lanka stands tall as a cricket playing nation in the World. TheNational team is ranked 3rd both in the Test and the One Day version in the ICC rankings.